A lawsuit farmers have filed against seed giant Syngenta will proceed as a class action, potentially impacting thousands of Indiana corn growers.
On Sept. 26, U.S. District Court Judge John Lungstrum approved a motion to certify the Syngenta AG MIR 162 Corn Litigation as a class action, according to John Shoup, director of the Indiana Agricultural Law Foundation.
Indiana corn producers are included in a nationwide class asserting claims under the Lanham Act, a federal statute prohibiting false or misleading statements alleged to have hurt a business. The applicable class is composed of all corn producers in the United States who priced any corn for sale after Nov. 18, 2013.
Producers who have filed individual lawsuits in Minnesota state court against Syngenta prior to June 15, 2016, as did many Indiana corn producers, are excluded from the class definition, and their case will proceed in Minnesota. Also, producers who planted AG MIR 162 corn are excluded from the class definition.
Producers who have not already filed individual state court lawsuits against Syngenta prior to June 15, 2016, or did not grow AG MIR 162 corn will receive a notification from the class action court. If a producer wishes to participate in the class action lawsuit, they need to fill out the required information as directed by the notice.
Producers who do not wish to participate in the class action lawsuit can affirmatively “opt out” of the lawsuit or simply not provide the requested information.
For class purposes, a “producer” is a person listed on the USDA FSA Form 578.
Producers desiring to file individual claims against Syngenta and not be a part of the class, or producers who planted AG MIR 162 should consult with an attorney immediately to determine applicable statute of limitations issues and how best to proceed, Shoup added.