Syngenta- Viptera Lawsuits: Trial Dates Set in Seven Additional States

DTN writer Todd Neeley reported on Friday that, “Trial dates have been set in seven additional states on class-action lawsuits filed against Syngenta over the release of Viptera corn to China, according to an order issued by a judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas in Kansas City, Kansas.

A Kansas jury on June 26 awarded farmers $217.7 million in compensatory damages in the first of several class-action lawsuits filed against Syngenta.

“On Thursday, U.S. District Judge John Lungstrom announced in an order the court’s rationale for scheduling the next set of trials two states at a time.”

Mr. Neeley noted that, “The court set a trial date of Jan. 22, 2018, for negligence and tortious interference claims made by farmers in Arkansas and Missouri. Motions in the case are due by Sept. 22, 2017.

“The trial of farmer negligence and statutory consumer protection claims made in Illinois and Nebraska is set for April 4, 2018, with motions due on Jan. 5, 2018.

“The Iowa and South Dakota negligence claims are scheduled for trial on May 14, 2018, with motions due by Feb. 26, 2018.

“Negligence claims made by farmers in the Ohio class are set for trial Oct. 8, 2018, with motions due May 28, 2018.”

The DTN article added that, “The Kansas lawsuit was filed by four farmers who represent more than 7,000 farmers in the state. It was the first of multiple lawsuits claiming Syngenta should have inspected and prevented harvested Viptera (MIR 162) corn from being shipped to China in 2013 and 2014.

A second case scheduled for trial on July 10 in Minnesota state court has been settled, according to Paul Minehart, head of corporate communications-North America for Syngenta. According to Bloomberg, the company settled with Nebraska farmer Daniel Mensik, who brought the first lawsuit in the state court against Syngenta. The 300-acre farmer had claimed the Viptera release caused him about $125,000 in damages. The terms of the settlement were not made public.”

Mr. Neeley also pointed out that, “A second case involving about 60,000 farmers is slated to begin in Minnesota state court in August.

“Also, at the end of June, the Common Pleas Court in Seneca County, Ohio, dismissed a Viptera lawsuit filed against Syngenta on behalf of Poet’s Fostoria Ethanol plant in Fostoria, Ohio.”

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