Syngenta, a Swiss-based agricultural company, is facing hundreds of lawsuits after its attempts to commercialize certain genetically-modified (GMO) corn seed varieties decreased global demand for U.S. corn. The seed varieties in question, Viptera and Duracade, had not been approved for sale in China when they were launched on the U.S. market. In November 2013, China began rejecting U.S. corn after finding traces of the unapproved GMO seed in some shipments. The results were financially disastrous for American corn growers, many of whom are now pursuing Syngenta lawsuits to recoup financial losses they incurred due to China’s refusal to accept U.S. corn imports.
The attorneys at Wright & Schulte LLC want to ensure that every American farmer harmed by Syngenta’s actions is made whole. This litigation is not about GMO corn, and Syngenta lawsuits are not being filed on behalf of farmers who grew the Viptera and Duracade varieties. Any farmer in the U.S. who grew commercial grade hybrid corn from 2011 through 2014 – regardless of the variety – is eligible to file a claim. To find out if you qualify, please contact Wright & Schulte LLC as soon possible for a free, no-obligation Syngenta lawsuit review.
Syngenta Lawsuit Allegations
Syngenta began marketing Viptera GMO seed to U.S. farmers in 2009, and a year later the company sought approval to sell the variety in China. Unfortunately for American corn growers, that approval would not be granted until December 2014. China is one of the largest markets for U.S. corn products, and it has a well-known zero-tolerance policy pertaining to the sale of any crops that contain unapproved seeds. But instead of warning U.S. corn growers that Viptera hadn’t yet been approved in one of their most important markets, Syngenta’s advertising for the GMO variety promised farmers they could “Plant with Confidence,” and minimized China’s importance to U.S. corn industry.
Once Viptera was on the market, it was planted next to fields that contained other corn varieties. It was also mixed with other commercial corn varieties at grain elevators, terminal grain facilities, and even ships that carried corn exports to other countries. As a result, it wasn’t long before Viptera had contaminated the entire U.S. corn supply. In 2013, China found traces of the Viptera trait in corn shipments from the U.S., prompting the country to reject all U.S. corn. More than 1 million metric tons of corn were turned away at Chinese ports because of Viptera contamination.
The consequences for U.S. corn growers were devastating. Syngenta lawsuits allege that China’s rejections have caused U.S. corn exports to drop 85%. The volatility in the worldwide corn market that resulted from those rejects has likely cost farmers in this country more than $1 billion.
Unfortunately, it does not appear that the financial chaos unleashed by its handling of Viptera has done anything to deter Syngenta. In 2014, the company introduced Duracade, another GMO corn seed not yet approved for sale in China. According to Syngenta lawsuits, Duracade will also contaminate the U.S. corn crop, and possibly result in further rejections by Chinese regulators.
In the wake of China’s decision to reject U.S. corn shipments, hundreds of farmers in Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and other corn growing states have filed Syngenta lawsuits that seek compensation for their financial losses. In December 2014, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered that all currently pending Syngenta GMO corn seed lawsuits, as well as those filed in the future, be transferred to the U.S. District Court, District of Kansas for coordinated pretrial proceedings. All of the lawsuits pending in the litigation claim that Syngenta misled farmers by marketing GMO corn without ensuring that crops with the trait could be exported to China. Plaintiffs further allege that the company’s handling of Viptera and Duracade may ultimately cost U.S. farmers as much as $2.9 billion. (In Re: Syngenta AG MIR 162 Corn Litigation – MDL No. 2591)
Syngenta Lawsuit Reviews
Wright & Schulte LLC is offering free legal consultations to U.S. corn growers who wish to recoup financial losses related to Syngenta’s handling of the Viptera and Duracade GMO seed varieties. To learn more about filing a Syngenta lawsuit, please contact our office today by completing the online form on the right, or call toll free, 1-800-399-0795.