At least a dozen Arkansas farmers have joined hundreds of farmers in 19 other states in almost 800 lawsuits against Swiss seed maker Syngenta over genetically modified corn seed, a case that has been widely reported in the media.
But one of the lawsuits, filed on behalf of two Newport farms, contains a previously unreported twist: an allegation that Syngenta, a global agribusiness, has engaged in a criminal conspiracy to contaminate the U.S. corn crop to force China, other nations that buy U.S. corn and U.S. farmers to accept genetically modified corn.
The suit, field by the Emerson Poynter law firm, which has offices in Little Rock and Houston, alleges that Syngenta violated the Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, which is usually used to fight organized crime.
Emerson Poynter filed the class-action suit in January on behalf of Kenny Falwell and Eagle Lake Farms, farming operations in Newport. It, like at least eight other lawsuits against Syngenta over its genetically modified corn seed, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
These lawsuits joined hundreds of other lawsuits filed by U.S. farmers since the fall against Syngenta, the Swiss developer and marketer of seeds and agricultural chemicals.