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Syngenta Viptera Corn Seed Lawsuit

Syngenta Viptera Corn Seed Lawsuit

After China banned imports of genetically-modified (GMO) corn seed, American farmers lost billions of dollars because much of the supply was contaminated with trace amounts of Viptera, a GMO seed invented by the Swiss company Syngenta AG.

What You Can Do & How We Can Help

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Viptera corn seed economic loss cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was unable to export corn, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Class Action Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

UPDATE: $218 Million Awarded to Kansas Corn Farmers

June 2017 — A federal jury in Kansas has awarded $218 million to over 7,000 corn farmers and exporters who lost money after Syngenta AG released the genetically-modified (GMO) corn seed called “Viptera MIR162” before it was approved in China. Click here to read more.

Syngenta GMO Corn Class Actions

Class action lawsuits have been filed by corn farmers in several states. In December 2014, these lawsuits  against Syngenta were centralized in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2591) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, overseen by Judge John W. Lungstrum. All of the lawsuits accuse Syngenta of destroying American corn exports by selling Viptera before it was approved in China. Click here to read more.

There are now at least 20 class action lawsuits against Syngenta nationwide, including states like Ohio and Texas. Lawyers allege that the American corn industry lost around $5.77 billion as a result of Syngenta’s actions. The litigation involves thousands of corn farmers as well as major exporters like Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland and grain-shipping companies like Trans Coastal Supply Co. who suffered economic losses.

What is Syngenta Viptera?

Syngenta AG developed MIR162, a genetically modified (GMO) corn seed, in 2009. It was marketed under the brands Viptera and Duracade. The seed is resistant to insects, including corn borers, black cutworm, and corn rootworm.

China Bans Imports of GMO Corn Seed

In November 2013, China banned imports of genetically-modified corn seed. Only 3% of corn acres in the United States were planted with GMO seeds initially. However, nearly all of the country’s corn supply was contaminated with trace amounts of Viptera due to cross contamination:

  • Cross-pollination on adjacent fields. Lawsuits claim Syngenta encouraged farmers to plant GMO corn seed side-by-side with other corn products.
  • Cross-contamination during storage and shipment. Nearly all corn is stored on shared grain elevators and transported on trucks, trains, and shipping containers. In 2011, Syngenta sued Bunge North America, a grain elevator company, for refusing to accept Viptera.

China rejected nearly 1.45 million metric tons of American corn seed after finding trace amounts of Viptera. Because China is the third-largest customer of corn exports, the price plummeted. Farmers have lost over $1 billion since 2013.

In December 2014, China approved imports of corn with Syngenta’s Viptera GMO traits. Although corn prices were still 20% below average three years later, lawyers say they can start working out a settlement for farmers and others who suffered economic losses.

Corn Seed Losses Seek Economic Compensation

Syngenta is now facing over 150 lawsuits and 20 class actions from angry farmers who suffered economic losses. These lawsuits accuse Syngenta of aggressively and recklessly marketing Viptera in the United States.

Corn farmers, grain elevator operators, exporters, and the rest of the industry have filed lawsuits accusing Syngenta of misleading them about the regulatory approval of Viptera by China.

According to one lawsuit cited by Reuters, Chief Executive Michael Mack said in an April 2012 earnings call that he expected Beijing to clear the trait “within a matter of a couple of days.” That clearance did not happen until December 2014.

In September 2014, Cargill Inc. filed a lawsuit seeking $90 million in damages. Trans Coastal Supply Co., a major exporter of livestock feed, filed a similar lawsuit seeking $41 million in losses, according to Reuters.

Farmers in at least a dozen states have joined forces and filed coordinated lawsuits in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri. In December 2014, federal judges centralized over 160 lawsuits in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2591) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, overseen by Judge John W. Lungstrum.

Do I have a Syngenta Viptera Corn Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Viptera corn seed economic loss cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was unable to export corn, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Class Action Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

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