- ADM filed one of the first GMO corn lawsuits against Syngenta.
- ADM filed suit in Louisiana state court because Syngenta does business in Louisiana and ADM’s two largest export facilities are located there.
- ADM’s Petition alleges that Syngenta’s widespread sale of MIR 162 corn seed and failure to implement reasonable stewardship policies before obtaining export approval from China tainted the U.S. corn supply through cross-pollination and comingling of unapproved MIR 162 corn with approved corn.
- ADM’s Petition alleges that Syngenta’s conduct caused it anundisclosed amount of financial damages.
Archer Daniels Midland Company (“ADM”) filed a lawsuit against Syngenta on November 19, 2014 in the 29th Judicial District for the Parish of St. Charles, State of Louisiana. Its Petition contains nineteen (19) pages and ninety-three (93) paragraphs of allegations against Syngenta.
ADM filed suit in Louisiana state court because Syngenta does business in Louisiana and ADM’s two largest export grain terminals and elevators are located in Louisiana.
ADM’s Petition provides detailed information on three subjects: (1) The U.S. corn export market and the Chinese corn import market; (2) Syngenta’s conduct prior to selling MIR 162 corn seed; and (3) Syngenta’s application for approval in China. ADM’s allegations are summarized below.
The U.S. Corn Export Market and the Chinese Corn Import Market
- 20% of U.S. corn is exported;
- By 2011-2012, China had become the third largest purchaser of exported U.S. corn, accounting for approximately 13% of the total U.S. corn export market;
- In 2013, China consumed approximately 24.5% of the world’s corn.
Syngenta’s Conduct Prior to MIR 162 Corn Seed Sale
- Syngenta assured the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that it would implement reasonable stewardship policies for MIR 162 corn seed;
- In an application to the USDA, Syngenta stated that it was “obligated” to implement a “specific and detailed stewardship program” that requires “growers to divert his product away from export markets (i.e., channeling) where the grain has not yet received regulatory approval for import.”
- As a result of these statements, the USDA granted “non-regulated” status to MIR 162.
Syngenta’s Application for Import Approval to China
- Syngenta applied for import approval for MIR 162 corn from China.
- When ADM filed its Petition, on November 19, 2014, China had not yet approved MIR 162 for import.
- MIR 162 was not approved for import by China until December 16, 2014.
ADM’s Petition alleges that Syngenta sold MIR 162 in the U.S. for years without implementing reasonable stewardship programs prior to obtaining Chinese approval. ADM also alleges that Syngenta “took affirmative actions that actually increased the likelihood that [MIR 162] would, in fact, taint the export supply chain.”
Specifically, ADM alleges that Syngenta:
- encouraged side-by-side planting of MIR 162, which increased the likelihood of cross-pollination;
- led industry participants to believe approval from China had been achieved, when it had not been; and
- released Duracade (its second-generation MIR 162 product) without appropriate stewardship programs.
Finally, ADM alleges that Syngenta’s conduct caused it an undisclosed amount of financial damages as a result of the significant drop in corn prices.
The legal causes of action alleged by ADM include negligence under La.Civ.Code Ann. Arts. 2315 and 2316 (¶¶81-84), unfair trade practices and consumer protection act violations under La.Rev.Stat.Ann. §51:1409(A) (¶¶85-88), and civil conversion under La.Civ.Code Ann. Art. 2315 (¶¶89-92). ADM seeks a jury trial on all counts.
Syngenta sought to “remove” ADM’s case from Louisiana state court to federal court. However, a federal judge in Kansas City ruled on May 5, 2015 that ADM’s case should remain in state court.
* This information is provided to supply relevant information concerning the GMO corn lawsuit, and should not be received as legal advice. Legal advice is only given to persons or entities with whom Watts Guerra LLP has established an attorney-client relationship. If you have another lawyer in the GMO Corn lawsuit, you should consult with your own attorney, and rely upon his or her advice, rather than the information contained herein.