Rice farmer is awarded $500,000 in case over crop contamination


Robert Patrick
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Posted July 21, 2010

A federal jury in St. Louis awarded $500,248 on Wednesday to a farmer who claimed that he and his family had lost just over $1.5 million when genetically modified rice contaminated the U.S. rice supply.

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The trial, which lasted more than three weeks, is the fifth trial in federal and state courts in which farmers have been awarded damages. In all, hundreds of lawsuits filed by thousands of farmers and others against Bayer CropScience have alleged that the release of LibertyLink, a herbicide-resistant rice, into the rice supply cost farmers millions.

The release was announced in August 2006, before the rice had been approved for sale for human consumption. It has since been approved but has not been commercially marketed.

In closing arguments Tuesday, Bayer lawyer Mark Ferguson said that the price quickly recovered and that farmers who waited suffered only small losses. Ferguson acknowledged that Denny Deshotels and his family had suffered some loss, but did not name an amount in closing arguments.

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