A $1.5 billion settlement between Syngenta and 650,000 corn producers over the agricultural giant’s genetically modified corn seed was approved. The order from U.S. District Judge John W. Lungstrum noted that the case was “hotly contested,” with the merits of the corn producer claims “thoroughly vetted through litigation” in multiple jurisdictions. That litigation included one multiweek class action trial in his court and extensive preparation for other trials.
The litigation dates back to 2014, when corn farmers and others in the corn industry began filing lawsuits, including class actions, against Syngenta over the company’s marketing of two insect-resistant GMO corn seed products, Viptera and Duracade, without securing approval from China, according to the court’s order. That resulted in China rejecting imports of all corn from the United States.
The nationwide settlement class is generally divided into four subclasses: corn producers who did not purchase Viptera or Duracade; corn producers who did purchase one of those products; grain handling facilities; and ethanol producers.
Of the 650,000 class members, 52 percent have submitted claims and only 17 members properly exercised their right to opt out, and just nine objections by 15 members were submitted in the end, the judge said.
The case is In re: Syngenta AG MIR162 Corn Litigation, case number 2:14-md-02591, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas.
This blog is intended to provide information to the general public and to practitioners about developments that may impact Oregon class actions.