Posted February 17, 2015
Syngenta AG may file counterclaims against some of the 750 plus U.S. grain farmers and exporters who have sued them over sales of biotech corn seed that disrupted trading with China last year, according to an Ag Professional article available here. STL Today also published an article available hereand Reuters here.
Syngenta, the world’s largest crop chemicals company, is “assessing the scope for potential counterclaims” in response to lawsuits over Agrisure Viptera corn, also known as MIR 162.
Last year, global grain handlers Cargill Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland Co., along with hundreds of farmers, sued Syngenta for damages from China rejecting shipments of U.S. crops that contained Viptera corn, according to STL Today.
At the time, the trait was approved for planting in the United States, but it was not approved for import by China, a major corn buyer.
As of Jan. 28, 762 lawsuits had been filed, according to Syngenta’s SEC filing on Thursday, and the company claims the suits are without merit.
Syngenta counterclaiming is “a lot of puffery,” said lawyer Paul Hanly of Simmons Hanly Conroy, which is representing clients suing the seed maker, according to Reuters.
“I’m really hard-pressed to see what the theory would be, other than some sort of disparagement claim,” he said, adding that he believes a disparagement counterclaim would be baseless.
Lawsuits against Syngenta have been consolidated in Syngenta AG MIR162 Corn Litigation, U.S. District Court, District of Kansas, No 14-md-02591. (Reporting by Tom Polansek; Editing by Paul Simao)
For more information on biotechnology, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.