Riceland Foods, the largest rice cooperative in the country, filed suit in an Arkansas state court against Bayer Corporation for damages it suffered as a result of Bayer’s gross negligence in allowing unapproved genetically-modified rice to contaminate U.S. natural long-grain rice. As a result of the contamination, countries within the European Union refused to purchase U.S. long grain rice. Rice farmers and cooperatives, like Riceland Foods, lost millions of dollars in sales and incurred substantial clean-up costs. Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against Bayer in federal and state courts.
Riceland alleged in its lawsuit that the presence of Bayer’s Liberty Link rice caused the cooperative to lose $389 million in projected and future earnings. The jury found that Bayer caused tremendous harm to Riceland and the entire industry and awarded Riceland $11.8 million in compensatory damages and $125 million in punitive damages. The jury also found that Bayer was solely responsible for any damages incurred by farmers as a result of the loss of the European market.
Barry Deacon, a lawyer with Barrett & Deacon, located in Jonesboro, Ark., represented the plaintiff and did a very good job. Phil Beck, a lawyer with Bartlit, Beck, Herman, Franlinchar, & Scott in Chicago, represented Bayer.
Lawyers in the Mass Torts Section of our firm represent a number of rice farmers who have been damaged as a result of Bayer’s wrongful conduct. If you need additional information on this subject, contact Leigh O’Dell, a lawyer in our Mass Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Leigh.Odell@bealseyallen.com.
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