In a recent post, we detailed lawsuits filed by corn exporters, farmers, and other stakeholders against Syngenta Corp. regarding its marketing of corn which contains genetically modified (“GMO”) traits that have not been approved for export to countries such as China. On December 11, 2014, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation agreed to consolidate multiple class actions and other suits filed against Syngenta by corn farmers, exporters, and others. As the Panel described in its transfer order, “[a]ll actions involve common factual questions regarding Syngenta’s decision to commercialize the MIR 162 genetically modified corn trait in the absence of Chinese approval to import corn with that trait,” and thus these cases are to be consolidated in the District of Kansas before U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum, who has a depth of experience with complex litigation. The case previously discussed in detail in this space, Archer Daniels Midland Co. v. Syngenta, was filed in Louisiana state court and has not yet been consolidated with the myriad federal actions in the District of Kansas.
Additionally, earlier this week, in a separate action that related to Syngenta’s marketing of its GMO corn, Syngenta ended its dispute with Bunge North America Inc. (“Bunge”) in which Syngenta alleged that Bunge had engaged in a false advertising campaign by posting signs at its receiving facilities that stated that Bunge would not accept Syngenta’s GMO corn because it has not been approved for export to China. In their dismissal stipulation, the parties agreed to dismiss the case with prejudice without an award of fees or costs to any party.