Michael's Grain Farm, Inc. et al v. Syngenta AG et al
ORDER appointing plaintiffs' settlement negotiation committee. Signed by Judge David R. Herndon on 8/9/2017. (ceh)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
MICHAEL’S GRAIN FARM, INC. et al.,
SYNGENTA AG, et al.
CASE NO: 3:17-cv-000320
ORDER APPOINTING PLAINTIFFS’ SETTLEMENT NEGOTIATION
COMMITTEE IN THE SYNGENTA LITIGATION
Several lawsuits have been filed in multiple federal and state courts arising
from Syngenta’s development and sale of corn seeds containing genetically
modified traits known as MIR 162 and Event 5307 before China’s approval to
import corn with those traits. Cases are pending in: the multidistrict litigation
(“MDL”) proceeding in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas,
captioned in In re Syngenta AG MIR162 Corn Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2591,
before U.S. District Judge John W. Lungstrum and U.S. Magistrate Judge James
P. O’Hara; in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
before U.S. District Judge David. R. Herndon in the cases captioned Tweet et al v.
Syngenta AG et al, No. 3:16-cv-00255, Poletti et al v. Syngenta AG et al, No. 3:15cv-01221, and Michael’s Grain Farm et al v. Syngenta AG et al, No. 3:17-cv000320; in Minnesota State Court before Judge Laurie Miller in a case captioned
In re Syngenta Litigation, No. 27-cv-15-3785; and in the Illinois State Court before
Judge Brad K. Bleyer in a case captioned Browning v. Syngenta AG et al, No. 15L-157. On June 23, 2017, the United States District Court for the District of
Kansas court entered a Judgment following the Kansas class jury verdict in favor
of Plaintiffs. (A motion to amend that judgment is pending.) Additionally, the
Minnesota class trial before Judge Miller is scheduled to begin on September 11,
The above-mentioned courts have all appointed Ellen K. Reisman as Special
Master for Settlement to explore settlement of the pending cases in all of the
courts listed above. Special Master Reisman has been given the authority, without
limitation, to construct an efficient procedure to engage the parties in settlement
negotiations, including: conducting in-person settlement negotiation with the
parties and their counsel in all cases; ordering the appearance of any persons
necessary to settle any claims completely; and making recommendations to the
Courts concerning any issues that may require resolution in order to facilitate
settlement or to efficiently manage the litigation.
In order to facilitate the goals of the appointment of the Special Master for
Settlement, and after consultation with Special Master Reisman and judges from
the federal and state courts listed above, who are presiding over the Syngenta
corn litigation, the Court finds it prudent and efficient to appoint a Plaintiffs’
Settlement Negotiation Committee to work toward a fair and expeditious
resolution of the matters discussed above. This Plaintiffs’ Settlement Negotiation
Committee shall conduct settlement negotiations with Syngenta and Special
Master Reisman, shall confer with other Plaintiffs’ counsel in the actions
described above about such negotiations, and shall participate in such
negotiations on their behalf.
The Court’s judgment is that the Plaintiffs’
representing the interests of different groups of producer plaintiffs while
maintaining a workably sized group to conduct settlement negotiations.
Court anticipates that members of the Plaintiffs’ Settlement Negotiation
negotiations so that producer plaintiffs’ interests are appropriately represented.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Christopher A. Seeger, of Seeger Weiss LLP;
Mikal Watts, of Watts Guerra LLP; Clayton A. Clark, of Clark, Love & Hutson, GP;
and Daniel E. Gustafson, of Gustafson Gluek PLLC are appointed as the Plaintiffs’
Settlement Negotiation Committee.
The Plaintiffs’ Settlement Negotiation
Committee, Special Master Reisman, and Syngenta will report on a weekly basis
to the undersigned. This judge will communicate, on a regular basis, the progress
of the Committee to the presiding judges in the federal and state court cases
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Digitally signed by
Judge David R.
DATED: August 9, 2017
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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