Plaintiffs Win Preliminary Approval of $1.51 Billion Settlement With Syngenta
Ridgefield Park, N.J. – Today plaintiffs, in the litigation against Syngenta related to its marketing and commercialization of Agrisure Viptera and Agrisure Duracade corn seeds, were granted preliminary approval of a settlement with Syngenta before the United States District Court in the District of Kansas (MDL no. 2591). It is the largest agricultural litigation settlement in U.S. history.
The settlement with Syngenta was reached in September of 2017, finalized in February 2018, and filed for approval on March 12, 2018. The terms of the settlement were agreed upon only after years of hard fought litigation and negotiations between Syngenta and various plaintiff groups. Syngenta will contribute $1.51 billion dollars to a settlement fund, used to make payments to be allocated among eligible corn farmers, grain handling facilities and ethanol production facilities who fall within the settlement class and to cover the costs of administering the settlement, including any court-approved award of fees to plaintiffs’ counsel, in exchange for a classwide release of all claims against Syngenta related to the launch of Agrisure Viptera and Agrisure Duracade. The $1.51 billion dollar settlement resolves thousands of pending cases against Syngenta. The settlement does not constitute an admission by either side concerning the merits of the parties’ allegations and defenses.
Now that approval has been granted, plaintiffs’ lawyers will begin notifying potential claimants about the settlement and how to submit a claim for compensation. The amount received by any individual claimant will vary depending on the individual claimant’s farming, grain handling, or ethanol production operations and will be determined through a claims process.
Seeger Weiss partner Chris Seeger served as a court-appointed member of the Plaintiffs’ Settlement Committee and Stephen Weiss served as a member of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee. Seeger and Weiss were accompanied in their efforts by partner Dion Kekatos, who was centrally involved in the multidistrict litigation and settlement briefing.