How did Syngenta impact corn prices and cause billions of dollars in damages?
In 2009 Syngenta released a genetically engineered corn trait, MIR162, into the U.S. market. Its first generation of MIR162 corn seed was known as “Agrisure Viptera” (“Viptera”). Agrisure varieties have been genetically engineered to protect corn against damage from insects such as the corn borer and corn rootworm. Syngenta marketed Viptera without approval from China. The Chinese government did not approve the MIR162 corn trait until December 2014.
Upon discovering Viptera in U.S. shipments, China destroyed multiple shipments of corn from the U.S. Subsequently, in November 2013, China, one of the world’s largest corn importers, began rejecting all U.S. corn. By the end of 2013, over 545,000 tons of U.S. corn had been rejected by China. By April 2014, the rejected corn tonnage had reached 1,450,000. China was not the only country that rejected this GMO corn. 3.3 million metric tons of U.S. corn were rejected globally as of March 2014. These export market disruptions cost U.S. farmers billions of dollars.
Why is Syngenta being sued?
Syngenta sold Viptera to farmers before acquiring approval for its sale in China, while downplaying the impact this lack of approval would have on the market. When China rejected over 1 million tons of U.S. corn, the price of corn dropped dramatically, and many farmers lost income as a direct result. Lawsuits are currently being filed to hold Syngenta accountable for the financial damages caused to farmers, exporters, elevators and others in the corn industry by the negligent marketing of their seeds.
Who may have claims for damages against Syngenta?
Farmers, elevators, shippers, exporters, and other businesses in the corn industry have had their income impacted by the dramatic drop in corn prices. Manufacturers of other corn products, such as corn syrup, which have also been rejected from China, may have claims as well. All parties suffering financial losses as a result of Syngenta’s actions may have claims for damages. Thousands of cases have been filed in state court in Minnesota, where Syngenta is headquartered in the U.S.
Do I have to travel to participate in a lawsuit?
While the legal proceedings are being handled in Minnesota by lead counsel Watts Guerra, which has handled very similar claims with regard to GMO rice, you don’t need to travel to seek compensation for your losses. You will have the benefit of working closely with Rhoades McKee as Michigan counsel working directly with Watts Guerra, to guide you through the litigation process.