The scores of separate lawsuits filed against Syngenta over its genetically modified Viptera seed may evolve into a class-action case involving every corn grower in the U.S.
Syngenta began selling its Viptera corn seed to U.S. farmers for production after receiving approval for the product. However, once the corn was grown and shipped in 2013, Chinese buyers rejected cargoes that included the strain because regulators in Beijing had not yet approved the corn. Given the scale of impact that China wields over global commodity markets, the economic impact was significantly felt by U.S. traders, processors, and farmers who went on to sue Syngenta in an attempt to regain their lost market share and income.
Currently each farmer must file their own lawsuit against the company, however, many lawyers are preparing to request that the situation be structured as a class-action suit that would involve “virtually every corn farmer in America” unless they opt out, according to court documents.
If a class-action suit moves forward, it would result in a much higher number of claimants and would result in significantly higher costs to Syngenta had the suits remained separate.
Lynda Kiernan is Editor with HighQuest Group Media and of the Oilseed & Grain News. If you would like to submit a contribution for consideration, please contact Ms. Kiernan at firstname.lastname@example.org.