Negotiators in the Syngenta class action corn litigation have released some of the details of a settlement that, if approved by the courts, would be the largest agricultural litigation settlement in U.S. history.
Back in September, the parties to the litigation announced a preliminary settlement that would settle all U.S. farmer lawsuits resulting from Syngenta’s 2010 decision to sell a strain of insect-resistant GMO corn seed varieties called Agrisure Viptera and Agrisure Duracade in the United States before obtaining import approval from China. Since the announcement of the preliminary settlement, the parties have been working out the settlement details.
On March 12, the plaintiffs filed a motion for preliminary approval of a settlement before Judge John W. Lungstrum of the United Stated District Court in the District of Kansas, according to a news release posted on the Syngenta corn litigation website. Other details provided by the release:
- Under the agreement, Syngenta would contribute $1.51 billion to a settlement fund that would be allocated among farmers and other eligible parties and to cover the costs of administering the settlement, including any court-approved award of fees to plaintiffs’ counsel. This would be in exchange for a class-wide release of all claims against Syngenta related to the launch of the two seed varieties.
- All corn growers, grain handling facilities and ethanol plants across the country, as defined in the settlement, are covered by this settlement, including any U.S. farmers who opted out of previous Syngenta litigation.
- The amount received by any individual claimant will vary depending on the individual’s farming, grain handling, or ethanol production operations and will be determined through a claims process.
If the preliminary settlement is approved by Lungstrum, the settlement terms and claims process information will be included in notices mailed to class members and published in various media outlets across the country, as well as on the settlement website. Members of the class then will have a period of time to submit a claim form, opt out of the settlement, or object to the terms of the agreement. All class members will have to submit a claim form to receive settlement funds.
Lungstrum then will decide on whether to finally approve the $1.51 billion settlement. If the settlement is ultimately approved, it is anticipated that funds could be distributed to class members in the first half of 2019, the release concludes.