To boost production and revenues, Syngenta AG pressed farmers in the U.S. to plant its genetically modified Agrisure Viptera and Agrisure Duracade corn seed and produce crops for export to China and other countries. It was later discovered, however, that Syngenta has never had an agreement to export these genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to China. When shipments arrived there in 2013 and 2014, Chinese officials rejected them, resulting in substantial economic loss to U.S. corn producers and others in the domestic corn industry.
To help you fully understand Syngenta’s actions the resulting harm and losses, we’ve put together this brief FAQ.
What Did Syngenta Do Wrong?
The two GMO corn varieties that Syngenta markets (Viptera and Duracade) contain a specific trait called MIR 162 GMO. While approved for sale in the U.S., China has not approved the MIR 162 GMO trait, prompting officials there to reject Syngenta’s shipments when they arrived at Chinese ports.
It is believed that Syngenta was aware of the Chinese government’s position and misled farmers into purchasing Syngenta’s corn seed anyway to capitalize on the remaining years of their GMO patent. By allegedly misrepresenting or failing to disclose the absence of an agreement with China, Syngenta became responsible for the foreseeable consequences, including the Chinese embargo of U.S. corn and the resulting losses. Because the corn was co-mingled with other varieties in elevators and shipments, those farmers who did not plant Syngenta corn were equally damaged when they couldn’t sell their corn to China either.
Who Has standing to Sue Syngenta and What Will a Lawsuit Accomplish?
Sommers Schwartz has initiated a lawsuit against Syngenta on behalf of farmers who did not purchase or plant Syngenta’s Viptera or Duracade.
Suing Syngenta is the only way for these farmers to recover damages for market losses they suffered due to the company’s failure to take proper steps to ensure its GMO corn was properly channeled for export to China. The precise damage model will be developed over time, but a preliminary estimate suggests that the total loss for the U.S. grain industry will range from $1 billion to $2.9 billion in total, roughly $100 per acre.
What Are My Options If I Am a Corn Farmer?
If you are a farmer and have been harmed by Syngenta’s actions, you can file a lawsuit to recover your losses. Filing a lawsuit is the only sure way to preserve your claims, and you must file your action before the statute of limitations prevents you from bringing your claim.
Hiring a lawyer is usually done on a contingent fee basis, which means that the lawyer doesn’t get paid unless and until you win your case. The lawyer will take a percentage of the net recovery, after costs, as his or her fee. If you lose, you do not owe the lawyer anything, and will not receive a bill.
Sommers Schwartz’s Complex Litigation Team is representing farmers in Michigan and across America in the Syngenta genetically modified corn lawsuit on a contingent fee basis. The company’s alleged wrongdoing is personal to us – one of our lawyers comes from a corn farming family that currently owns 200 acres in Iowa. We are committed and motivated to our clients and vigorously prosecuting their case, and are working with some of the leading GMO lawyers in the country to provide the best representation available.