A US federal jury on Friday ordered Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta to pay nearly $218 million to 7,000 Kansas farmers after selling them genetically-modified corn seeds not approved for export to China.
The farmers suffered profound economic damage in 2013 when Chinese authorities refused imports of corn grown with Syngenta’s bioengineered seeds, causing prices to plummet, according to a lawyer for the plaintiffs.
“The verdict is great news for corn farmers in Kansas and corn growers throughout the country who were seriously hurt by Syngenta’s actions,” Pat Stueve, a lawyer for the farmers, said in a statement.
The jury in Kansas found Syngenta negligent in the matter, and awarded $217.7 million in compensation to the farmers, court papers showed.
The verdict came down after only a half day of deliberations, but covers only one of eight lawsuits targeting Syngenta over the matter, Stueve said.
“This is only the beginning. We look forward to pursuing justice for thousands more corn farmers in the months ahead.”
Other cases involve farmers in agricultural states such as Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Ohio, with nationwide losses exceeding $5 billion, he said.
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