GMO Rice Litigation
Pendley, Baudin & Coffin has been involved in the GMO Rice litigation pending in St. Louis federal court since 2007 representing over 700 clients. The Multi District Litigation has settled for a cash payment for all claimants of $750,000,000 by A. G. Bayer, the company that developed the rice variety with the mutation. While in the experimental development, the modified rice escaped from the test plots and contaminated the entire rice production from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri. It is believed that the contamination of the commercial rice crops occurred around 2001 but was not discovered until early 2006 in the 2005 rice crop. On the announcement by the USDA of the contamination in August, 2006, the demand for rice from these states fell to almost zero at a time when the 2006 crops was about to be harvested. The economic loss to the rice producers and mills was, in many cases, quite catastrophic. The litigation was hard fought and the resolution brings some economic relief to the rice producers.