DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — About 2,000 farmers, grain handlers and corn exporters have filed lawsuits against Swiss biotechnology company Syngenta now that a federal judge has ruled their cases have merit and will move forward.
The lawsuits allege Syngenta's introduction of Agrisure Viptera, a new genetically modified corn seed, interrupted trade with China in 2011, costing the U.S. corn industry an estimated $1 billion to $3 billion.
More than 1,860 cases have been filed since December from 22 states including Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota. The cases have been consolidated before a Kansas City, Kansas judge.
Syngenta argues it had no duty to protect farmers from a drop in corn prices but the judge has ruled the law requires manufacturers to exercise reasonable care not to create a risk of widespread harm with products.