Syngenta settles Nebraska farmer’s suit
MINNEAPOLIS — Syngenta AG reached a confidential settlement with a Nebraska farmer who claimed the company mishandled marketing of its genetically modified seed, causing U.S. corn prices to plummet.
With the settlement, Syngenta averts a trial that was scheduled to start Monday. Terms weren’t disclosed.
Almost two weeks ago, Syngenta lost a $218 million jury verdict for a class of Kansas farmers who brought similar claims against the Swiss company, which was acquired by China National Chemical Corp. in June for $43 billion.
Syngenta faces its next class action in a Minnesota court in August, where farmers are seeking more than $600 million.
The company reached the settlement with farmer Daniel Mensik last week, as a scheduled trial neared in state court in Minnesota, plaintiffs’ attorney Mikal Watts said Thursday by phone. The settlement was confirmed by the court.
The farmers claim Syngenta rushed its genetically modified seed to market before getting approval from China to export the grain there. In 2013, China stopped shipments after calling the corn contaminated by the genetically modified seed, setting off a five-year depression in prices, the farmers claim. They also allege Syngenta misled them on when the Chinese would approve the seed.