The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that the class action relating to all corn producers in Canada who priced their corn for sale after Nov. 18, 2013 can move forward on the basis of an allegation of premature commercialization against the defendants Syngenta Canada Inc. and Syngenta AG.
In 2010, Syngenta began selling a genetically modified corn seed with the brand name “Agrisure 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” which also contained MIR 162.
The claim alleges that Syngenta sold these genetically modified corn seeds in North America before it should have as Syngenta had not yet received import approval in China and failed to take reasonable steps to ensure the seed was sold in a manner in which the seed did not contaminate the North American corn supply. As a result, the claim alleges that China began rejecting North American corn shipments, creating a glut of corn on the North American market, resulting in significantly depressed corn prices.
Similar claims were brought in the United States, resulting in a settlement of approximately $1.5 billion for U.S. corn producers, but Syngenta continues to refuse to offer any compensation to Canadian corn producers.
Matthew Baer, a partner with McKenzie Lake Lawyers LLP who is one of the lead counsel in the Canadian proceeding, said, “We are very pleased the Ontario Court of Appeal agrees that this case can move forward as a claim for premature commercialization and that Canadian corn producers will have an opportunity to prove their case. We look forward to the next steps in this litigation.”
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