The Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed a nearly $50 million verdict last month for farmers who suffered economic losses after genetically altered rice seeds produced by Bayer CropScience contaminated the food supply and hurt their crop prices. Bayer had appealed a verdict last year out of Lonoke County, Ark., that awarded farmers $5.9 million in actual damages and $42 million in punitive damages. The company claimed that Arkansas lawmakers set a limit on punitive damages and that no jury award should “shock the conscience.” It obviously believed that this award was shocking, but the High Court on appeal disagreed.
Farmers contended that rice prices fell after federal regulators announced in 2006 that an experimental strain of rice was found in the U.S. long-grain rice supply. The rice had not been approved for human consumption. Bayer argued that any damages were minimal. The High Court obviously disagreed. If you need additional information on the rice farmers’ litigation, contact Leigh O’Dell at 800-898-2034 or by email at Leigh.Odell@beasleyallen.com.
Source: Claims Journal
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