Today, parties to the GMO corn litigation pitting corn farmers against Syngenta announced they have reached a settlement in the various lawsuits around the country. The parties have not announced settlement details, but Reuters News reports the amount to be approximately $1.5 billion.
Although settlements must be approved by the court, the parties announced that they have reached a pending settlement agreement in the cases. In a statement issued by both parties, they stated that “the proposed settlement would allow both sides to avoid the uncertainty of ongoing litigation.” Neither side admits fault concerning the merits of allegations or defenses. The process for approval and payment of settlements in class action cases can take a significant period of time.
You may recall that the lawsuits came about after Syngenta released a new corn variety in 2012, which was approved for planting in the United States, but was not approved by China for import. Upon finding the MIR-162 trait in corn shipments from the United States, China rejected the shipments. Plaintiffs alleged this caused corn prices to fall, resulting in damages to farmers and agribusinesses across the nation. [Read more background information here and here.] The tentative settlement agreement applies only to claims made by farmers and does not include settling claims made by agribusinesses.
The settlement comes during an ongoing trial on the claims of 200,000 Minnesota farmers and after the June verdict in favor of a group of Kansas farmers.