Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Ongoing Case Highlight: In re Sygenta Mass Tort Actions, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73612 (S.D. Ill. May 15, 2017)


This case is related to In re Sygenta AG MIR162 Corn Litigation, previously discussed in this blog in this post, but the plaintiffs and the theory of the damages are different. Plaintiffs in this case are corn farmers who did not purchase Sygenta's GMO corn. They claim that China's rejection of Sygenta's genetically modified corn caused a general decline in the price of American corn, causing damage.

The court denied the motion to dismiss. The court found that Illinois had jurisdiction over Sygenta, and there was no federal law preemption over the plaintiffs' claim. The court also found that Illinois's "economic loss doctrine"--which generally holds that a plaintiff cannot recover solely economic damages under tort theories--did not bar the plaintiffs' claim. Finally, the court held "policy considerations" outweigh the concerns over the defendant's forseeability of damages, and found the defendant did owe a duty to corn farmers generally.


Another fugue in the trippy world of GMO products! I am not entirely familiar with the area of mass torts involving agricultural products, but I find this ruling quite surprising. Under this theory, a producer with a market share large enough to affect the price of a product owes a duty to all producers of the same product. If this theory holds, imagine the possibilities.

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