In late 2000, the “StarLink” brand of genetically-modified corn, which had been licensed by the Federal government only for the growing of corn used for animal feed and industrial purposes (such as the growing of corn for manufacturing ethanol), was found to have entered the U.S. food chain. The news swiftly led to Japan and other major overseas buyers of U.S. corn placing embargoes on American corn, and the resulting collapse of the export market for U.S. corn and a sharp decline in the market price of U.S. corn.
Seeger Weiss LLP was one of four court-appointed co-lead counsel for a class of corn farmers in various corn-belt states against Avenits CropScience USA – the developer of corn seed, and Garst Seed Company , the principal licensee and distributor of StarLink corn seed. In the actions, which were centralized in the U.S. District Court in Chicago, the corn growers sought damages representing the loss in value of their corn crops due to the improper marketing, handling, and distribution of StarLink corn. In April 2003, following much discovery and the denial of the Defendants’ motion to dismiss the Plaintiffs’ claims, U.S. District Judge James B. Moran approved a $110,000,000 nationwide settlement of the class claims.