The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has ordered the transfer of five cases brought by wheat farmers who allege economic injuries due to lower wheat prices, import restrictions and increased production costs after genetically engineered (GE) wheat was discovered in an Oregon farmer’s field; pre-trial matters will be heard by a multidistrict litigation (MDL) court in Kansas. In re Monsanto Co. GE Wheat Litig., MDL No. 2473 (J.P.M.L., decided October 16, 2013).
According to the court, the actions involve common questions of fact, and centralization in Kansas “will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of this litigation. All actions share factual questions arising from Monsanto’s conduct with respect to the development and field testing of genetically-engineered [sic] ‘Roundup Ready’ wheat from 1998 through 2005, and the alleged discovery of the Roundup Ready herbicide-resistant gene in wheat plants on an Oregon farm in or around April or May of 2013.”