A U.S. District Court judge in Kansas has ruled that plaintiffs can proceed with a national class-action lawsuit that could pit more than 440,000 U.S. corn farmers against Switzerland-based seed company Syngenta.
Patrick Stueve, attorney with Kansas City law firm Stueve Siegel Hanson, and St. Louis attorney Don Downing of Gray, Ritter & Graham P.C. are two of the attorneys representing the class of farmers.
The legal dispute against Syngenta first emerged in 2014 and is centered on allegations that the company “prematurely and irresponsibly” released new seed varieties that were not approved in China. Eventually those varieties, Agrisure Viptera and Duracade, contaminated U.S. corn exports to China, leading to a trade ban in late 2013.
Plaintiffs say the trade ban and China’s continued unwillingness to buy genetically modified corn from the U.S. has resulted in estimated losses of $5 billion to $7 billion for domestic corn growers.
A trial in the case is currently set for June 2017. In addition to the nationwide class established by Monday’s ruling, statewide classes of affected farmers were approved in Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota.