Syngenta Case Update: How Misleading Marketing Harmed the U.S. Corn Market

Switzerland-based Syngenta, the world’s largest crop chemicals company, is currently facing over 175 lawsuits in eight states by corn farmers, exporters, grain handlers and others who have been adversely impacted by the company’s false claims.

Syngenta Case UpdateThe lawsuits center around Syngenta seed products Agrisure Viptera and Agrisure Duracade that feature a genetically modified organism (GMO) strain.

At Simmons Hanly Conroy, every GMO corn lawsuit case is personal. Illinois corn growers and exporters—like Decatur-based Trans Coastal Supply Company— are our neighbors. We’ve seen the impact of Syngenta’s actions first-hand.

What’s Next?

Not a single one of our clients impacted by the false claims made by Syngenta got into corn farming to become rich. They are second, third generation farmers—hard-working people who get up before the sun every day, rain or shine. These are people who run family-owned, mid-sized exporting businesses. They have suffered tremendous losses, and we are committed to helping them recover and get back to the business of growing and selling corn.

We are working tirelessly to help our clients recover what they have lost through Syngenta lawsuits—seeking damages to compensate for the impact of Syngenta’s actions on our clients.

The cases have been consolidated under pending multidistrict litigation (MDL). In December 2014, the MDL was assigned to U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas Judge John W. Lungstrum. A select group of attorneys, including myself, were appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee (PEC) for the MDL. The purpose of the PEC is to best help the victims who have been adversely impacted by Syngenta. PEC members collaborate with each other to effectively manage discovery and pretrial matters in the litigation process.

Beyond the Case: Implications for the GMO Marketplace

This case is a landmark—it could affect the way agribusiness companies market and sell GMO crops.

Simmons Hanly Conroy Shareholder Paul Hanly has been a sought-after resource in the media for his views on the Syngenta lawsuits. He was recently quoted in the Bloomberg BNA Daily Environment Report saying the following:

“If the case results in a GMO manufacturer having to pay billions of dollars, I can guarantee that will catch the attention of every other GMO company in the world,” said Hanly. “It will be a signal or a warning to the entire GMO market that you have to exercise care in what you’re creating and what you’re saying about your creations.”

Hanly said the dozens of GMO corn lawsuits, which were recently consolidated and moved to federal district court in Kansas City, Kan., could have a significant effect on how the GMO industry operates.

Click to Read More from the Bloomberg BNA Daily Environment Report January 14, 2015

Click to the Bloomberg BNA Snapshot Dec 4, 2014

About Jayne Conroy
Shareholder Jayne Conroy co-leads the firm’s Complex Litigation Department. She is a member of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee (PEC) for the pending multidistrict litigation (MDL) against Syngenta Seeds Inc. concerning its genetically modified corn.

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