News Update

Settlement Discussions to Occur


We represent over 50,000 corn growers and elevators who have decided to file claims against Syngenta for wrecking the corn market in 2013-2016. Our cocounsel, Frank Guerra was appointed as Lead Counsel by the Judge who oversees over 90% of the cases against Syngenta. Lead Counsel Frank Guerra and our entire leadership team appointed by the Court are currently obtaining discovery from Syngenta, and preparing the 40 farmer cases which have already been selected, as test cases to be tried to a jury less than a year from now in 2017. As the cases against Syngenta move forward positively towards trial, on February 25, 2016, United States District Court Judge Lungstrom issued a Coordination Order Related to Settlement. In the February 25, 2016 Order the Court stated: " Thousands of lawsuits have been filed in various federal and state courts arising from Syngenta’s development and sale of corn seeds containing genetically modified traits known as MIR 162 and Event 5307 (used in products called Viptera and Duracade) before China’s approval to import corn with that trail. Some 800 federal cases are pending in a multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) proceeding in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, captioned In re Syngenta AG MIR162 Corn Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2591, before U.S. District Judge John W. Lungstrum and U.S. Magistrate Judge James P. O’Hara. Lead counsel in those cases seek to certify a national class action which would include virtually every corn farmer in America. Three additional federal actions, involving more than 2,800 plaintiffs, are pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois before U.S. District Judge David R. Herndon. Approximately 2,375 cases, involving over 20,000 plaintiffs, are pending in the Fourth Judicial District of Hennepin County, Minnesota, and consolidated before Judge Thomas M ...

February 29, 2016 / in News

Syngenta Case or Bellwether Process


Judge Sipkins, oversees 95% of the claims in America. Frank Guerra of our firm is Lead Counsel before Judge Sipkins. Watts Guerra represents 47,000 corn farmers with claims before Judge Sipkins. He cannot try 47,000 cases, so the case will be decided by several test cases, which are called bellwether cases. Judge Sipkins has entered a bellwether selection order., which determined the process for picking the handful of test cases that will set the value of all our clients’ claims. The bellwether trials will begin in Minnesota State Court between January and March 2017. The cases will be heard by a jury. This case will be decided by test cases also called bellwether trials. With regard to bellwether selection, the parties met with Special Master Van de North after the federal MDL hearing in Kansas City on October 19, 2015, and negotiated an agreed bellwether selection process. This process involved the random selection of 800 cases (out of almost 32,000 filed at the time). Over the course of the month of November, the Plaintiffs were to collect basic information with respect to each of these 800 cases, and provide it to Syngenta by the end of November, 2015. When that process was 60% complete, or complete with respect to 480 cases, we notified Syngenta and the Special Master on November 13, 2015, and then by agreement, each side had 10 days until November 23, 2015 to nominate 60 proposed bellwether discovery case candidates each, and thereafter, had until December 1, 2015 to meet and confer to attempt to select just forty (40) cases for in-depth, bellwether discovery. The bellwether cases were to represent the various categories of cases. For example in Nebraska 6 producers were selected: 2 with less than 250 acres; 2 with 250 to 500 acres; and 2 with ...

February 29, 2016 / in News

Syngenta Blames Cargill and ADM: Unbelievable!


On November 19, 2015 Syngenta sued ADM and Cargill and blamed them for wrecking the corn market price because ADM and Cargill handled Syngenta’s grain. YES, you did read that correctly. Syngenta is actually suing ADM and Cargill because they were willing to accept and handle Syngenta’s traits. On November 19, 2015, Syngenta filed a document in court titled Third-Party Complaint against: CARGILL, INC., CARGILL INTERNATIONAL S.A., ARCHER DANIELS MIDLAND COMPANY, EXPRESS GRAIN TERMINAL LLC, AND RAIL TRANSFER, INC. Syngenta accuses these companies of negligence because they handled Syngenta’s Viptera trait. “Syngenta discussed the approval status of Viptera directly with Cargill and ADM on multiple occasions. For example, Syngenta warned Cargill that “some com[m]ingling [of Viptera and non-Viptera corn] will happen at harvest” in the fall of 2011.” SYNGENTA’S THIRD-PARTY COMPLAINT, para 58 at 20. Yes, Syngenta has actually now admitted in court filings it knew in the fall of 2011, that its Viptera would get commingled with non-Viptera corn in the fall of 2011. Syngenta was obviously so concerned about this danger, that they warned ADM and Cargill 2 years before the ban on US corn by China. Syngenta has now admitted they knew 2 years before it happened. Next, Syngenta claims these companies should have known the Syngenta grain would get to China. “The Third-Party Defendants knew or should have known that commodity corn they commingled was likely to end up in export channels, including to countries like China where Viptera and Duracade had not yet been approved. “ Id. at page 20. Again, if Syngenta claims these other companies should have known Viptera would get to China, then Syngenta is admitting IT knew or should have known. Syngenta further admitted in its court filing: “Syngenta warned Cargill on multiple occasions that any vessels carrying U.S. corn would likely contain Viptera. Cargill ...

February 29, 2016 / in News

Syngenta Court Update as of March 1, 2016


As of December 18, 2015, Watts Guerra represents more corn farmers than anyone in America. Our firm currently represents over 47,000 farmers with claims against Syngenta for losses in the price of corn, soybeans, and milo. There are now separate litigations against Syngenta proceeding in (1) the federal MDL in Kansas City; (2) a consolidated proceeding in the Southern District of Illinois; (3) a consolidated proceeding in Minneapolis; (4) in state court in Illinois, and (5) in state courts in Louisiana. Judge Sipkins, oversees 95% of the claims in America. Frank Guerra of our firm is Lead Counsel before Judge Sipkins. Judge Sipkins conducted a status conference on Friday, October 30th. In preparation for that status conference, the parties negotiated an agreed preservation order, an agreed scheduling order, an agreed coordination order and a bellwether selection order. This case will be decided by test cases also called bellwether trials. With regard to bellwether selection, the parties met with Special Master Van de North after the federal MDL hearing in Kansas City on October 19, 2015, and negotiated an agreed bellwether selection process. This process involved the random selection of 800 cases (out of almost 32,000 filed at the time). Over the course of the month of November, the Plaintiffs were to collect basic information with respect to each of these 800 cases and provide it to Syngenta by the end of November 2015. When that process was 60% complete, or complete with respect to 480 cases, we notified Syngenta and the Special Master on November 13, 2015, and then by agreement, each side had 10 days until November 23, 2015 to nominate 60 proposed bellwether discovery case candidates each, and thereafter, had until December 1, 2015, to meet and confer to attempt to select just forty (40) cases for in-depth, bellwether discovery. The ...

February 29, 2016 / in News

2016 Plaintiff Fact Sheet


Our firm is Lead Counsel in the court case where over 90% of the cases in the country have been filed. As Lead Counsel, one of our roles is to collect the plaintiff fact sheets from our 50,000 clients. The Court ordered all farmers to provide Plaintiff Fact Sheets (hereinafter “PFS”). If you are an existing client we will be providing you a PFS to complete after your claim has already been filed. If you are a new client, after the order requiring PFS, then we will provide a PFS for you to complete prior to our filing your claim. The Court order requires you to complete a PFS or your case will be dismissed and you will not be able to recover your corn losses. The PFS is 2 pages long and requests 4 types of documents which, if you do not already have, are easy to obtain. The PFS are kept confidential. The information will not be publically available. The PFS has a few blanks to provide basic contact information. There are a couple of questions about the crops you grow. You are asked for the estimated percentage of corn you feed to livestock and whether you store corn on your property. If a question does not apply to you, like feeding livestock, you can write “n/a” or 0. Do not leave any blanks. The PFS also asks you to provide 4 types of documents from 2011 to present. You are likely to have these documents already if you participated in the farm bill, or for preparing your taxes. If you do not have the documents, 4 phone calls should be able to get them. If you spend more than 2-3 hours gathering the information, then something is wrong. We provide a self-addressed stamped envelope. The envelope is postage paid so simply ...

February 29, 2016 / in News

 

 

If you have suffered an economic loss because of the drop in the corn market during 2013 and 2014, you may be entitled to financial compensation from Syngenta. We can connect you with experts who will give you advice about participating in a GMO corn lawsuit.


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