Syngenta Seeds lawsuit: What to consider if you were notified

UPDATE May 23, 2018: A proposed settlement has been reached between plaintiffs and Syngenta in litigation over the sale of Agrisure Viptera and Agrisure Duracade seed. Those who may be eligible for a claim in this settlement may receive a claim notice in the mail. If you feel you may be entitled to a claim, you can visit to read more about the case and file a claim.

All claims must be filed by Oct. 12, 2018. Class members have until August 10, 2018 to exclude themselves from this settlement and preserve any individual claims. OFBF and AFBF were not involved with this litigation, but want to make sure farmers receiving these notices have access to information to make an informed decision.

PREVIOUSLY: Some Farm Bureau members may have recently received a notification letter about the opportunity to participate in a class action lawsuit against Syngenta Seeds, Inc. This lawsuit deals with the release of Viptera and Duracade corn seed and allegations that the sale of this seed hurt the larger corn market.

Many corn growers will be eligible to participate as a member of the class covered by the lawsuit, and if Syngenta is found to be liable in the suit or a settlement is obtained, those in the class-action lawsuit could receive payment.

“AFBF and OFBF are not involved in this litigation and have no position in this litigation,” said Leah Curtis, Farm Bureau’s director of agricultural law. “As many members may be contacted, we wanted to provide the following information solely to help our members who received a letter make an informed decision regarding their own participation.”

Those eligible to participate in the class-action lawsuit must meet the following requirements:
• Be listed as a corn producer, including farmers and crop-share landlords, on government Farm Service Agency Form 578;
• Priced at least one bushel of corn after Nov. 18, 2013;
• Did not purchase Agrisure Viptera or Agrisure Duracade;
• Are not an officer, employee or relative of the court; a governmental entity; or an officer, director, employee, contract or agent of Syngenta; and,
• Are not one of the excluded producers who (1) produced corn in Minnesota or (2) filed a separate lawsuit in Minnesota on or before June 15, 2016 and hired one of the law firms listed in the class notification.
If you meet these qualifications, you have two choices:
• Do nothing and be automatically included with the class. You will await the outcome of the class-action lawsuit and give up the right to sue individually.
• Ask the court to exclude you from the class. If you ask to be excluded, you will not be able to receive any claim disbursement from any eventual court award or settlement. You will, however, retain the right to proceed individually with claims against Syngenta.

In either case, Curtis said farmers should feel free to consult with their own private counsel regarding how to proceed.