A federal jury in Kansas City, Kan., awarded $217.7 million in damages on Friday to 7,300 corn farmers in a lawsuit over Syngenta AG’s genetically modified seed.
Jurors deliberated for half a day, asking at one point for a calculator following three weeks of trial in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan. They rejected the corn growers’ request for punitive damages.
The case stemmed from genetically modified corn seed that Syngenta sold for use in the United States before it had been accepted for import into China, according to Pat Stueve of the Kansas City law firm Stueve Siegel Hanson, which represented the corn growers.
China began to refuse U.S. corn shipments after discovering the modified traits, causing prices to fall and causing economic harm to the growers, the case had said.
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The lawsuit, filed in December 2014, is one of eight class-action cases involving the modified corn seed claims. Each involves corn growers in a single state, with other cases certified in Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota.
Stueve said he has asked the court to combine the seven other certified cases into three trials, each to be held in Kansas City, Kan. The class of Kansas corn growers covers those who priced corn after Nov. 18, 2013, and did not buy and grow Syngenta’s Viptera or Duracade corn seed.