(Kansas City) The United States District Court in Kansas City has named Gray Reed & McGraw attorney William Chaney as co-lead counsel for plaintiffs in the multi-district litigation cases filed against Syngenta. The other co-lead counsel are Don Downing of Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C. in St. Louis, Scott Powell of Hare Wynn Newell & Newton in Birmingham, and Patrick Stueve of Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP in Kansas City.
According to Syngenta, they currently face over 360 lawsuits filed in courts across the country by corn farmers, grain handlers, exporters and others. As co-lead counsel, Chaney, Downing, Powell and Stueve will lead the preparation and presentation of all plaintiffs' claims against Syngenta. Their duties include coordinating all discovery in the cases, and speaking on behalf of plaintiffs at all court conferences and hearings.
The lawsuits, which were first filed last year, allege that Syngenta sold its Agrisure Viptera and Agrisure Duracade lines to American corn farmers without the necessary regulatory approvals from China, a major U.S. corn export market. In November 2013, a shipment of U.S. corn to China tested positive for the genetic trait found in Viptera - MIR162. As a result of this discovery, China began refusing shipments of U.S. corn, which negatively impacted the price U.S. corn farmers could obtain for their crop.
In part, Judge John W. Lungstrum’s order states:
They all have done extensive work identifying and investigating potential claims; are experienced in handling complex litigation, including litigation involving genetically modified grain; are knowledgeable in the law; have demonstrated themselves as able and willing to work with diverse interests among plaintiffs as well as with the court and opposing counsel; and they bring the resources necessary to sustain this litigation without untoward involvement by non-party, non-lawyer funders. Moreover, they received excellent references from other judges before whom they have practiced, both for their skills and their collegiality. Much the same could be said about the other candidates, but the DCPS group stood out.
To read the entire order, click here.
The multidistrict litigation is styled In re Syngenta AG MIR162 Corn Litigation, MDL No. 2591 (2:14-md-02591-JWL-JPO). In December 2013 the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered all cases against Syngenta relating to the discovery of MIR162 in China to be consolidated in coordinated proceedings before the Honorable John W. Lungstrum in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas (Kansas City). That venue was one of the choices of venues supported by the firms.
Syngenta Corn Litigation Website
Gray Reed, Gray Ritter and Hare Wynn have introduced a website specifically for those interested in learning more about these Viptera class action lawsuits against Syngenta and how corn growers can become a part of them: www.syngentacornlitigation.com
About Gray Reed & McGraw
Founded in 1985, Gray Reed & McGraw is a full-service, Texas based law firm with more than 120 lawyers practicing in Dallas and Houston. Gray Reed & McGraw offers a wide range of legal services including business litigation, corporate transactions, oil & gas transaction and litigation, tax planning and litigation, real estate, healthcare, trusts and estates, employment law, family law, intellectual property, and bankruptcy. For more information, visit www.grayreed.com.