Proposed Settlement of Claims Against Syngenta May Not Apply to Maryland and Delaware Corn Growers, But A Future Settlement Will Settle Claims Nationwide

 

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Grain silos with bare field.  Image by Jeannette E. Spaghetti via Flickr.com

 

Disclaimer:   Paul does not take any position on the claims asserted against Syngenta or on whether producers join in a  class action lawsuit against Syngenta.  This article is for informational purposes only.

On September 26, 2017, Syngenta agreed to settle claims brought by U.S. farmers for bringing Viptera and Duracade corn varieties to market before approval in China. News of the settlement came after weeks of a trial involving about 22,000 Minnesota corn growers seeking $400 million in damages, following a settlement in June where a jury awarded over 7,000 Kansas corn growers $218 million in damages. While terms of this late September settlement are currently unknown, reports are that Syngenta is seeking to establish a fund of around $1.5 billion to settle this ongoing litigation. These class action lawsuits currently involve corn growers who priced corn after November 18, 2013, and who did not purchase Viptera or Duracade corn varieties.
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Recent MSBA Bar Journal Article – Current Legal Views Will Limit Many Claims for Damages in a Pesticide Drift Case

 

 

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Sprayer in a field.  Image by United Soybean Board.

I recently wrote an article for the Maryland Bar Journal focused on pesticide drift liability.  The article is focused on the issues that have existed in previous court decisions involving drift liability.  This issue continues to grow in importance for producers.

 

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Challenge Brought Against Decision to Approve Loan Guarantee for Maryland Poultry Farm

 

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Image of poultry farm by Livestock & Poultry Environmental Learning Center

 

This is not a substitute for legal advice.

Many of you may have seen the news that Food and Water Watch (FWW) was challenging the decision of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in approving an application for a loan guarantee for a poultry operation on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. FWW is challenging the FSA’s Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) as apart of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). FWW is looking to have the decision set aside the decision to grant the loan guarantee causing FSA to start the environmental review again. At this point, the case is just the initial stages with just the complaint file by FWW. This case will be playing out over the next few months. Continue reading

Wyoming’s Data Collection Trespass Statute Violates the First Amendment of the Constitution

 

Oxbow Bend Sunrise (Grand Teton National Park)

Image by Ken Lane and shows Oxbow Bend Sunrise in the Grand Teton National Park

 

This post is not legal advice.

Recently, a federal court of appeals reversed a lower court decision involving a data trespass law passed by Wyoming in 2015. This new trespass law created criminal and civil penalties when a person trespassed to collect resource data on private property. The court of appeals concluded that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protected the collection of data and the new trespass law was unconstitutional. Wyoming’s new trespass law did not directly speak to protecting agricultural operations; many have viewed this law as a form of an ag-gag law. As we have discussed before, although it is unconstitutional for states to adopt these laws, producers still have options to protect their operations. Continue reading