Syngenta Corn Antitrust Class Action Settlement Eligible Class Members:
You are a member of the Syngenta Corn Settlement Class certified by the Kansas Federal Court if you are a Corn Producer, a Grain Handling Facility, or an Ethanol Production Facility who fits into the one of the definitions below. You will see references to “Corn” with a capital “C” which, in the context of this settlement, means corn produced in the United States, and/or dried distillers’ grains (“DDGs”) produced from that corn by Ethanol Production Facilities as a byproduct of ethanol production, priced for sale after September 15, 2013. For purposes of this settlement:
- Corn Producers. A “Corn Producer” is any owner, operator, landlord, waterlord, tenant, or sharecropper who shares in the risk of producing Corn and who is entitled to share in the Corn crop available for marketing between September 15, 2013 and April 10, 2018. A landlord who receives a variable rent payable based on a share of the crop or proceeds from the sale of Corn is a Corn Producer. A landlord who receives only a fixed cash amount for renting the land that does not vary with the size of, or pricing for, the crop is not a Corn Producer. This settlement affects Corn Producers in the U.S. with an interest in U.S. corn priced for sale between September 15, 2013 and April 10, 2018.
- Grain Handling Facilities. A “Grain Handling Facility” is any grain elevator, grain distributor, grain transporter, or any other entity in the U.S. that, between September 15, 2013 and April 10, 2018, (a) purchased Corn and then priced Corn in the United States for sale between September 15, 2013 and April 10, 2018; and/or (b) purchased Corn and then transported, stored or otherwise handled Corn that was priced for sale between September 15, 2013 and April 10, 2018. This settlement affects Grain Handling Facilities with an interest in U.S. corn priced for sale between September 15, 2013 and April 10, 2018.
- Ethanol Production Facilities. An “Ethanol Production Facility” is any ethanol plant, biorefinery, or other entity in the U.S. that, between September 15, 2013 and April 10, 2018, produced or purchased DDGs in the United States and priced those DDGs for sale. This settlement affects Ethanol Production Facilities with an interest in U.S. Corn priced for sale between September 15, 2013 and April 10, 2018.
- Exclusions from the Syngenta Corn Settlement Class: Excluded from the Settlement Class are the following: (a) the Court and its officers, employees, appointees, and relatives; (b) Syngenta and its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers, directors, employees, contractors, agents, and representatives; (c) all plaintiffs’ counsel in the MDL Actions or the Related Actions; (d) government entities; (e) those opting out of the Settlement; and (f) the Archer Daniels Midland Company, Bunge North America, Inc., Cargill, Incorporated, Cargill, International SA, Louis Dreyfus Company, BV, Louis Dreyfus Company, LLC, Louis Dreyfus Company Grains Merchandising, LLC, Gavilon Grain, LLC, Trans Coastal Supply Company, Inc., Agribase International Inc., and the Delong Co. Inc. (and all affiliates).
Syngenta Corn Antitrust Class Action Settlement Case History:
In 2010, Syngenta began selling a genetically modified corn seed with the brand name “Agrisure Viptera” (also called just “Viptera”), which included a new insect-resistant genetic trait called “MIR 162.” In 2013, Syngenta began selling another genetically modified corn seed brand named “Agrisure Duracade,” (also called just “Duracade”), which included both the MIR 162 trait and a new insect-resistant trait known as “Event 5307.”
Corn Producers, Ethanol Production Facilities, and Grain Handling Facilities filed lawsuits against Syngenta claiming that Syngenta sold Viptera and Duracade corn seed before it should have because the MIR 162 and Event 5307 genetically modified traits contained in those seeds had not yet received import approval in China. The lawsuits argue that Syngenta should have waited to sell those seeds until it had obtained import approval in China and that Syngenta did not take reasonable steps to ensure that the seed was sold in a manner that corn harvested from Viptera and Duracade seed did not contaminate portions of the United States (“U.S.”) corn supply exported to China. The lawsuits claimed that China began rejecting shipments of U.S. corn after allegedly detecting Viptera traits in shipments from the U.S., causing the U.S. corn industry to lose access to the Chinese market and resulting in lower corn prices.
Syngenta denies that it did anything wrong, in part because before Viptera and Duracade were made available to U.S. farmers, the traits in those products were approved as safe and effective by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and all of the historical U.S. trading partners for corn. Syngenta argues that China historically was not a reliable and consistent importer of U.S. corn when the company launched Viptera and Duracade, and that in any event it was exporters—not Syngenta—that sent U.S. corn to China knowing that Viptera and Duracade were not yet approved there. Syngenta also states that the price drop in corn in 2013 was not the result of China’s rejection of U. S. corn, but rather was the product of a worldwide bumper crop of corn. Both the MIR 162 and Event 5307 traits now do have Chinese approval.
The people who sued are called Plaintiffs, and the companies they sued, Syngenta (and some of Syngenta’s affiliates), are called the Defendants. The Plaintiffs filed lawsuits in various places.
There were class actions and individual cases filed in or transferred to the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, known as In re Syngenta MIR162 Corn Litigation, No. 14-md-2591-JWL-JPO (D. Kan.). There were also individual cases and a class action in Minnesota State Court, which were collectively called In re Syngenta Class Action Litigation, No. 27-CV-15-12625 and 27-cv-15-3785 (4th Jud Dist. Ct. Minn). Additionally, there were other actions filed throughout the country, including In re Syngenta Mass Tort Actions, No. 3:15-cv-00255-DRH and No. 3:15-cv-01221-DRH (S.D. Ill.); Browning v. Syngenta Seeds, Inc. et al., No. 15-L-157 (Ill. Cir. Ct.); Fostoria Ethanol, LLC v. Syngenta Seeds, Inc., No. 15-cv-0323 (Seneca Cty., Ohio); Michigan Ethanol, LLC v. Syngenta Seeds, LLC, et al., No. 17-29831-NZ (Tuscola Cty., Mich.); Mid America Agri Products/Wheatland, LLC v. Syngenta Seeds, LLC, et al., No. CI 14-32 (Perkins Cty., Neb.); Ultimate Ethanol, LLC v. Syngenta Seeds, Inc. et al., No. 48C05-1512-CT-000184 (Madison Cty., Indiana); and TCE, LLC v. Syngenta Seeds, Inc., No. EQCV 039491 (Carroll Cty., Iowa).
The Court that is overseeing the Syngenta Corn settlement that covers all of these cases is the United States District Court for the District of Kansas (referred to in this notice as the “Kansas Federal Court”).
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