The first of tens of thousands of lawsuits goes to trial today in Kansas City, Kansas, pitting a group of farmers against Syngenta, the Swiss agribusiness giant. The plaintiffs allege Syngenta caused billions of dollars of economic damage by introducing a genetically engineered corn seed variety to U.S. farmers before it was approved for import to China, the Associated Press reports.
Court filings show Syngenta aggressively marketed the seed variety despite knowing Chinese approval was an issue. The suit contends the company damaged an increasingly important market and hurt prices for all producers.
Monday’s trial represents the first test case. It and another case, to be tried in July in Minnesota, are expected to provide guidance for how litigation in state and federal courts might be resolved. Attorneys elsewhere will likely look to the Kansas City case to determine whether to settle similar cases or take them to trial.