Iowa Public Television


13 GM Rice Lawsuits May Be Consolidated

posted on December 1, 2006

Lawyers representing hundreds of rice farmers want to consolidate 13 lawsuits over the accidental spread of genetically altered rice into one legal action against Bayer CropScience AG.

Farmers from Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri allege the rice market was hurt after Bayer's strain of genetically engineered Liberty Link rice was accidentally released from test plots.

While attorneys told a panel of federal judges in St. Louis that the lawsuits should be consolidated, they argued over which state should host the proceedings. Some want the suit tried in St. Louis because judges in the district are familiar with issues of GMOs due to so many cases filed against the St. Louis-based Monsanto Co. Others want the case heard in Little Rock because Arkansas is the largest U.S. rice producer.

The panel of seven judges will now rule whether to combine the suits and where they might be heard.

Tags: agriculture biotechnology courts crops genetic engineering news rice