– Genetic rice lawsuit in St. Louis settled for $750 million (STLtoday, July 2, 2011):
ST. LOUIS • Bayer CropScience agreed here late Friday to pay up to $750 million to farmers in Missouri and four other states to settle lawsuits over contamination of the U.S. rice supply by LibertyLink genetically modified rice in 2006.
“It was a devastating blow to a lot of rice farmers, and I’m tickled to death that we’ve finally reached a settlement where Bayer for the first time has offered to make it right to these farmers,” said St. Louis lawyer Don Downing, who was co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs.
“I think it sends a signal to those who develop genetically modified seeds that they need to keep those seeds very carefully contained until they’re approved for human consumption,” Downing said.
But, he added, “We were very careful all along … not to say that these lawsuits are anti-GMO (genetically-modified organisms) because many of our farmers use GM crops.”
Bayer, based in Germany, released a statement that read, in part, “Although Bayer CropScience believes it acted responsibly in the handling of its biotech rice, the company considers it important to resolve the litigation so that it can move forward focused on its fundamental mission of providing innovative solutions to modern agriculture.”
When it was discovered in the rice supply, LibertyLink had not yet been approved for sale for human consumption. Rice futures plunged, and Japan and European countries banned the import of U.S. rice.
The first of what would eventually grow to more than 400 lawsuits representing 11,000 plaintiffs were filed within weeks. Many were eventually consolidated in federal court here.
LibertyLink rice has since been approved but has not been commercially marketed.
LibertyLink corn, soybeans and canola are on the market, Bayer spokesman Greg Coffey said.
All farmers in Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi who planted long grain rice in 2006-10 — not just those who sued in state or federal court — can participate in the settlement, said Downing and co-lead counsel Adam J. Levitt. It also includes landowners who allow others to farm their land, but does not include importers, exporters, rice mills and others.
Under terms of the settlement, farmers who planted at least 85 percent of the roughly 2.2 million acres of rice during those years must sign up or Bayer can walk away from the deal.
Bayer said it has already “established appropriate provisions” for the settlement.
The settlement is broken down into three “pots” of money. The first, and the easiest to get, offers $310 an acre to compensate farmers for market losses and is available to those who had long grain rice planted in 2006-10, with lesser amounts for farmers who only planted in some of those years.
The second pot is for farmers who planted either of two rice varieties in 2006, Clearfield 131 or Cheniere, that were most affected by the contamination. Many of those farmers had to leave fields fallow, plant lower-value crops or spend money cleaning equipment of contaminated rice, plaintiffs’ lawyers said. Farmers will have to show receipts documenting their planting of those varieties.
The third pot is for those who feel that they lost more, and requires more documentation, lawyers said.
Friday’s settlement comes after a series of so-called “bellwether” trials set up to allow representative cases to proceed to trial and to give all sides a signal of what could come in pending cases.
Asked about compensation, Levitt said that lawyers had private fee agreements with the clients who sued. A “leadership team” of lawyers like Levitt and Downing and others who took on additional duties and expenses will receive additional money, he said.
In December 2009, a federal jury in St. Louis awarded $2 million to farmers. A different jury awarded $1.5 million in February 2010. Neither of those juries awarded punitive damages.
Last July, a federal jury in St. Louis awarded a Louisiana farmer, Denny Deshotels, $500,000 in one suit. Jurors were not given the option of punitive damages because of Louisiana law.
Two other bellwether cases settled, one a week into the trial and one the week before, Downing said.
In three state trials in Arkansas, jurors also found in favor of farmers, awarding $1 million in one trial, roughly $1 million or less in another and $6 million in actual damages and $42 million in punitive damages in the third, Downing said..
At trial, company lawyers argued that farmers who waited out the brief price hit suffered no losses and that Bayer was not negligent.
Friday’s settlement had not yet been filed in federal court in St. Louis, but plaintiffs’ lawyers announced the deal at 4:35 p.m. and Bayer released its own statement a short time later.
Asked to explain the timing of the settlement, Levitt declined to comment.
Coffey said, “We did release (the announcement) as soon as we could,” noting it was shortly after the agreement was signed.
Downing would only say: “I can’t tell you why it ended up late in the afternoon on a holiday weekend. You can perhaps speculate about that yourself.”
More information on GMOs:
GM food alters your DNA, changes your brain waves, destroys your immune system, your organs and makes you infertile.
– ROUNDUP: Birth Defects Caused By World’s Top-Selling Weedkiller, Scientists Say
– Australia: Secret GM Wheat Experiment Begins
– Peru Approves 10 Year BAN on GM Crops
– Roundup Birth Defects: Regulators Knew World’s Best-Selling Herbicide Causes Problems, New Report Finds
– Indian Scientists: GMO Gene Severly Damages The Plants, Causing Developmental Defects, Growth Retardation And Sterility
– A Scary Side Effect of Eating GMO Foods
– Study: GMO Bt Toxin Found In Human Blood (= A Threat To Human Health)
– Genetically Modified Cows Produce ‘Human’ Milk
– Farmers and Seed Producers Launch Preemptive Strike against Monsanto
– Next Stop Monsanto Zone: Agribusiness Fascism You Can Take A Bath In!
– MSNBC Poll: 96% Want GMOs Labeled
– Hidden Dangers: Genetically Engineered Foods
– USDA National Organics Program: Testing for GMOs NOT Required!!!
– GMO Nightmare: There Is No Escape From GM Foods
– GMOs: No Seeds, No Independent Research!
– Scientists Warn Of Dangerous New Pathogen From Roundup Ready Treated Monsanto GM Crops Causing Infertility And Spontaneous Abortions
– Roundup, GMOs linked to emergence of deadly new pathogen causing spontaneous abortions among animals
– USDA Deregulates GMO Corn Engineered to Produce Fuel, Not Food, Unleashing Another Mass Contamination of Crops
– Despite a Court Ban USDA Allows Commercial Planting of Monsanto’s Genetically Modified Sugar Beets
– US: Organic Consumers Association Funded by Big Pharma and Rockefeller! Food Freedom Betrayal!
– Change: USDA Recommends ‘Coexistence’ with Monsanto
– Monsanto’s Roundup Triggers Over 40 Plant Diseases and Endangers Human and Animal Health
– Max Keiser: Monsanto And The Seeds Of Evil
– WikiLeaks Cables: US Targets EU Over GM Crops
– Australia: Monsanto GM Strain Blows Organic Status Away
– US Conspired to Retaliate Against European Nations If They Resisted GMOs: Wikileaks Cable Reveals
– USDA GMO Policy
– US House of Representatives Passes Unconstitutional S.510/HR 2751, The Food Safety Modernization Act (TREASON!!!)
– The GMO Orange Scandal
– And Now: GMO Oranges As Solution To Insect-Borne Bacterial Disease
– Judge Orders Destruction Of Monsanto GMO sugarbeets
– Monsanto, Syngenta, BASF And Others Working On GM Wheat
– Scientists working to create genetically modified chocolate – to make you healthy (Sure!)
– MIT Scientists Develop GMO Plant That Produces Pharmaceutical Drugs
– USDA Plans To Allow GM Sugar Beet Planting During Lawsuit
– 10 Freakiest Things About Frankenfish
– GM Flax Contamination Detected in 35 Countries
– Study: GM Corn ‘Has Polluted Rivers Across The United States’
– FDA Refuses to Require Labeling of GM Salmon
– GM Salmon Nears US Approval
– RED ALERT: Dr. Rima E. Laibow On The Food Safety Bill (S 510): This Bill Eliminates All Local Farming, Organic Farmers and Garden Farmers
– US: GM Salmon May Go On Sale
– GMO Sugar Beets – Monsanto Wins Again
– US: Rice Farmer Awarded $500,000 In GM Rice Trial
– Scientist Leading Taxpayer-Funded GM Crop Test Defends Links To US Biotech Giant Monsanto
– US Supreme Court Lifts Ban On Monsanto’s GM Alfalfa
– UK Academics Quit Rigged FSA Frankenfood Propaganda
– Study: Monsanto’s Roundup Kills Human Cells (Flashback)
– GMO Alert: US Attempting Global Censorship of GMO Food Labeling
– California Files Legal Brief Opposing Monsanto in US Supreme Court
– Russian Scientists Prove Genetically Modified Foods are Harmful, Suggest Ban on GM Foods
– Bayer AG admits GMO contamination out of control
– Monsanto: GM-Corn Harvest of 82,000 Hectares in South Africa Fails (!)
– Multiple Ways Monsanto is Putting Normal Seeds Out of Reach
– Monsanto’s Genetically Modified Seed Patents May Trump Antitrust Claims
– Former Managing Director of Monsanto India: Monsanto ‘Faked’ Data for Approvals
– Monsanto GM Corn Causing Organ Failure In Rats: Study (Everything You Need To Know)
– Scientist: Monsanto’s herbicide could cause brain, intestinal and heart defects in foetuses
– Hawaii: GMO taro ban proposal goes to full council
– Monsanto to Charge as Much as 42 % More for New Seeds!
– US Association of Physicians calls for Moratorium on GMO Foods
– Monsanto sues Germany over GM corn ban
– Germany bans Monsanto’s GM maize
– Greenpeace: No need for condoms – GE corn can do the job
– Austrian Government Study Confirms Genetically Modified (GM) Crops Threaten Human Fertility and Health Safety
– BIODIVERSITY: Privatisation Making Seeds Themselves Infertile
– At stake is no less than control of the world’s food supply.
– Exposed: the great GM crops myth:
“Genetic modification actually cuts the productivity of crops, an authoritative new study shows, undermining repeated claims that a switch to the controversial technology is needed to solve the growing world food crisis.”
Highly recommended videos:
– Life running out of control – Genetically Modified Organisms (!)
– The World According to Monsanto – A documentary that Americans won’t ever see. (!)
Obama and Monsanto:
– Obama Gives Key Agriculture Post to Lobbyist of CropLife America Whose Members Include Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont and Dow Chemical
– Obama Gives ‘Pesticide Lobbyist’ Post as Chief Agricultural Negotiator
– Monsanto lobbyists to be placed in charge of food safety by Obama
– Obama appoints Monsanto shill Tom Vilsack to USDA chief
On CODEX and the agenda of the elite:
– Food Safety Bill Invokes Codex Harmonization And Grants FDA Authority To Police Food Safety Of Foreign Nations
– Dr. Rima E. Laibow: The Globalist Depopulation Agenda
– Dr. Rima E. Laibow on Codex Alimentarius and Food Nazification (!)
– Dr. Rima E. Laibow on the Contamination of the Food Supply & Deadly Antibiotics
– Codex Alimentarius: Population Control Under the Guise of Consumer Protection
– One Nation Under Siege – Full Theatrical Release
– Nutricide – Criminalizing Natural Health, Vitamins, and Herbs
Tags: Agriculture, Bayer, Bayer Cropsciencie, Environment, Food, Genetically Modified Organisms, Global News, GMO, rice