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CASE UPDATE: Global Settlement in Place, Individual Cases Moving Forward in Process
February 2019 - There is a global settlement in place. Everyone should have returned their claim forms by now. There are still some legal motions pending and we do not yet have a firm date for monetary disbursement. The third-party administrator of the settlement is working to calculate what each individual's settlement amount will be. No one knows at this point what the timeframe is for disbursement of the settlement. We will update everyone when the Court gives us a timeline for people to start receiving money.
Syngenta produces two genetically modified corn seed varieties – Viptera and Duracade.
Syngenta spent over five years and hundreds of millions of dollars developing MIR162 (“Viptera” corn) – a genetically modified seed that was designed to protect corn against damage from more than a dozen insect species such as the corn borer and corn rootworm. According to the Syngenta corn lawsuit, Syngenta sold Viptera corn – and farmers grew it – before the product had been approved by the Chinese government for full market distribution. China rejected the product, as it did not meet their government’s standards.
China was a large and growing export market. It was the top corn destination in 2013-2014 and was predicted by the USDA to be our largest export market for corn by 2020. U.S. corn exports to China plunged 87% in the first nine months of 2014 compared with the year prior. Corn futures prices have dropped around 14% this year as expectations of another record U.S. crop grew.
The Syngenta Viptera Corn lawsuit alleges that Syngenta knew, or should have known, that its MIR162 seed would cripple the nations corn market because of the industries inability to sell in Chinese markets, one of our largest agricultural trade partners. The Syngenta lawsuit also alleges that rather than waiting for China to approve Viptera corn, Syngenta “pushed its product on farmers” to enhance its profit margins, which totaled $875 million in 2013. Syngenta did so without making it apparent that farmers and agricultural entities would be unable to participate with Chinese markets.
According to a case study from the National Grain and Feed Association, the estimated total loss to the industry from trade disruption over the Viptera corn was $1 billion to $2.9 billion.
In September 2016, Judge John W. Lungstrum, U.S. District Judge of the District of Kansas, certified a nationwide class-action status for the Syngenta lawsuit. An additional eight state class action lawsuits were also certified into multi-district litigation.
These lawsuits include any and all businesses that were affected by the dramatic shift in corn pricings – the plaintiffs are suing Syngenta for their negligent actions that resulted in the negatively shifted corn pricing.
Any corn farmers, grain handling facilities and ethanol plants nationwide who sold corn priced after September 15, 2013, who also meet the qualifications to participate outlined in the settlement – are eligible to receive compensation from the settlement. This includes U.S. farmers who previously opted out of Syngenta litigation.
In order to receive settlement compensation, all class members must submit a claim.
THL is currently speaking to any business that was affected by the trade disruption that hurt market corn prices as a result of Chinese rejection of U.S. corn shipments. It is clear that the crippling of our nation’s corn export market has far-reaching implications and those that took actions that caused the crippling of this marketing should be held accountable.
A $1.5 billion settlement has been reached in the Kansas federal court class-action lawsuit against Syngenta. The settlement was announced on September 2017, but the details were not made public until the March 12, 2018 filing. The preliminary settlement was approved by Judge John W. Lungstrum, United States District Judge for the District of Kansas.
After Judge Lungstrum approved the settlement, the terms of settlement and claims process information were sent to class members. Class members were able to submit a claim form, opt-out of the settlement, or object to the terms of the agreement.
TorHoerman Law is a national mass tort, complex litigation, drug, medical device, and toxic tort law firm representing individuals and business clients in 50 states. We routinely take on the largest companies in the world when their negligent actions and unfair trade practices lead to unjust profits.
Contact TorHoerman Law today if you have any questions.
August 2018 - The case has settled. As a reminder claims forms have to be submitted to the Court by October 12, 2018, which means claim forms need to be submitted as soon as possible. Once claims forms are submitted, award determinations will be made. There is currently no set time frame for when disbursements will occur, but we hope to have that information in the near future. Thank you for your patience during this process and we are working hard to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
February 2018 - A tentative settlement agreement has been reached between the parties. Syngenta offered a lump sum to settle all claims in the U.S. The details on the settlement have yet to be finalized, so there is still a lot of work to be done. We are all working to determine how monetary awards will be calculated.
December 11, 2014 - The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) ruled that cases against Syngenta with regards to their decision to sell genetically modified seeds to farmers before receiving Chinese import approval are to be consolidated in the District of Kansas. According to the JPML, In re: Syngenta AG MIR162, these cases involve common questions of fact and will now be consolidated under Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) No. 2591 and heard by Senior Judge John W. Lungstrum, the District of Kansas.
THL is confident that Judge John W. Lungstrum is a good choice to lead this growing litigation. Judge Lungstrum is well versed in the nuances of complex, multidistrict litigation and will work fairly to move these cases forward. We agree with the court that consolidating these corn seed cases will promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation.
Last Modified: July 23rd, 2019 @ 02:40 pm
Syngenta Corn lawsuits allege the drop in corn prices, and their resulting decrease in profits has been partially caused by Chinese rejection of U.S. shipments containing Syngenta’s genetically engineered corn, MIR162, or Agrisure Viptera. The Syngenta corn lawsuit alleges that Syngenta knew or should have known that their actions relating to their genetically engineered corn, MIR 162, (“Viptera”), “crippled” the U.S. corn export market and effectively negatively impacted U.S. farmers, grain handling facilities and ethanol plants nationwide. TorHoerman Law is no longer accepting Syngenta lawsuit cases.
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