Market News & Headlines >> Viptera Corn Lawsuits Win Class Action Status

A U.S. district court judge in Kansas has granted class-action status to lawsuits brought by U.S. farmers against Syngenta AG for commercially marketing its MIR-162 genetically modified corn seed variety, commonly known as Agrisure Viptera, before it was approved for import by China. 

According to a court document filed on Monday, Judge John Lungstrum certified a nationwide class and statewide classes in Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota. 

U.S. farmers filed numerous lawsuits against the seed maker in 2014 after a series of grain shipments containing traces of Agrisure Viptera, were rejected by China starting in November 2013. Farmers who did not plant Viptera corn claimed they suffered losses because the rejections disrupted trade and caused corn prices to fall. 

Plaintiffs' attorneys estimate hundreds of thousands of corn growers lost $5 billion to $7 billion in current and future profits. "The Court's ruling will make it easier and less expensive for farmers to pursue their claims against Syngenta," said Scott Powell of Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., one of the attorneys appointed by the Court to represent the class told Reuters News Service. 

Syngenta said it may appeal the District Court's decision.