What is in this article?:
- Riceland wins historic award in GM rice case against Bayer.
- Case stems from 2006 discovery of trace amounts of GM traits in several U.S. rice varieties.
- Damages awarded may be subject to cap -- Arkansas Supreme Court to decide.
Have you talked to any of the jury members since the trial?
“I have not. I intend to do that. But it was a lengthy trial and I’m trying to give them a cool-down period.
“They worked hard. As with all juries, you could probably tell from their verdict that there was disagreement among them and ultimately they came to a compromise on various aspects of the case.
“But I think they reached a fair result even though Riceland is disappointed in some of the result. We’re excited about some and disappointed in some.”
More background on the Riceland/Bayer suit…
“The suit was initiated as a farmer case … against both Bayer and Riceland. Then Riceland filed a cross-claim against Bayer seeking its own damages.
“What happened is pretty interesting. The weekend before the trial, Bayer – and they’d actually started trying to negotiate with the farmers long before that – settled with the four farming entities that initiated the suit. It’s public record … that they settled for approximately $4 million.
“Bayer also cross-claimed against Riceland. They said Riceland was at fault and should be paying farmers’ damages.
“One of the issues presented to the jury was: is Riceland responsible for damages to farmers due to the loss of the European market. If so, they were going to ask” that Riceland be responsible for recompensing Bayer “for the settlement money Bayer paid to the farmers. That was the last part of the verdict.”
On the verdict…
The jury was asked to determine was “’Riceland negligent which caused the loss of the European market which caused the farmer damages?’ The jury answered that ‘no.’
“Also ‘using 100 percent apportion, what responsibility is there between Riceland and Bayer?’ The jury answered ‘100 percent’ for Bayer and zero for Riceland.
“That’s something we’re excited about because we’ve been sued by a number of farmers. Bayer cross-claimed against us saying ‘yeah, you are responsible for farmer damages.’ But a jury has found ‘no, Riceland’s negligence didn’t cause farmer damages and Bayer is 100 percent responsible.’