Kansas jury awards $218 million verdict to corn farmers in first bellwether trial of Syngenta Corn Litigation
On Friday, the first of the bellwether trials scheduled in the AG MIR162 Syngenta Corn Litigation concluded with a decisive verdict in favor of corn farmers. A Kansas City jury returned a verdict of $217,700,000 for the class of approximately 7,600 Kansas corn farmers. This is a significant step forward for our corn producer clients.
The Syngenta Corn Litigation is based upon the 2013-2014 Chinese blockade of U.S. corn. China blocked U.S. corn imports due to unapproved Syngenta AG MIR 162 seeds contaminating the U.S. corn supply.
The judge presiding over the federal multi-district litigation (MDL) selected the Kansas farmers as the first “class” of plaintiffs to present their case against Syngenta. These are what the courts term as “bellwether” trials in the MDL. The purpose of bellwether trials is to get a sense of how juries will rule on the cases. This helps lawyers for both the plaintiffs and defendants determine valuations of the cases for purposes of negotiating a possible global settlement of the overall litigation.
More bellwether trials scheduled
Several more bellwether trials are scheduled in the Syngenta AG MIR162 Corn Litigation between now and the end of the year. The trials are in both the federal MDL in Kansas and in state court class action suits in Minnesota. All cases represented through The Brad Morris Law Firm PLLC have been transferred into the federal MDL in Kansas. Still, the outcome of trials in Minnesota could have an impact on the ultimate valuation of any settlement. We will accordingly monitor all trials closely and provide updates to our clients as the bellwether trials continue.
At this time, it is still too early to say when, or if, there will be a global settlement or trial of our specific cases. We will continue to keep our clients informed as the litigation progresses.
Friday’s verdict is only one step in a long legal journey. But, the verdict is an important step toward compensation of corn farmers we represent in the Syngenta Corn Litigation.