Updated: Aug 27, 2019
In 2009, Syngenta released a genetically engineered corn trait, MIR162, in the U.S. market. Its first generation of MIR162 corn was known as Agrisure Vipterea. Viptera was marketed and introduced to the U.S. market without import approval from China secured. Despite this, Syngenta maintained that approval was imminent. In April 2012, Syngenta’s CEO stated, “There is an outstanding approval for China, which we expect to have quite frankly within the matter of a couple of days.” However, import approval was not ultimately granted until December 2014.
In November 2013, China, one of the world’s largest corn importers, began rejecting U.S. corn shipments because they contained a genetically modified variety that had not been approved. The discovery of Syngenta AG’s Agrisure Viptera corn in the shipment dragged on global prices and, by the end of 2013, over 545,000 tons of U.S. corn had been rejected by China.
China was not the only country that rejected this GMO corn. By April 2014, the rejected corn tonnage had reached 1.45 million, and as of March 2015, the rejected corn tonnage reached 3.3 million tons globally. The export market disruptions cost U.S. famers billions of dollars. The National Grain and Feed Association estimates the total economic damage of Syngenta’s commercialization of Viptera MIR162 prior to Chinese approval to be as much as $2.9 billion.
There are currently lawsuits pending against Syngenta in 22 states due to their commercialization of MIR162 without import approval from China. Today, tens of thousands of corn farmers across the United States have filed suit to ensure their voice is heard. Currently, many law firms are seeking class action lawsuits against Syngenta.
Unfortunately, class action cases usually result in outrageous fees for the attorneys pursuing them, while farmers and those directly impacted by Syngenta’s actions will only receive a nominal award. Unlike a class action suit, a mass tort lawsuit can give farmers the representation and compensation they deserve, ensuring compensation is awarded based on actual damages as a result of Syngenta’s commercialization of unapproved traits. Unlike a class action suit, a mass tort will be not be settled without your decision to opt-in to the proposed settlement.
Who can get involved with the Syngenta corn lawsuit? Any corn grower, whether or not they used Viptera or other Syngenta seed, should be made whole by Syngenta. Landowners who lease their farmland to farmers have sustained losses as a result of the corn prices dropping and thus may file suit against Syngenta. A farmer may file suit for his/her losses regardless of whether the landowner participates. Likewise, a landowner suffering lost rental income may file suit against Syngenta as well, regardless of whether the farmer participates. Similar to individual farmers and landowners, grain elevators were damaged as a result of the plummet in corn prices.
If you think you or someone you know may be affected by the Syngenta corn lawsuit, then please attend our informational dinner this Thursday, June 9 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Tavern at Coventry. Register here or RSVP to email@example.com or (260) 440-3241.