Judge dismisses organic farmers’ lawsuit against Monsanto

By Ken Roseboro
Published: March 1, 2012

Category: GMO Contamination of Organic Foods

Organic farmer lawsuits against Monsanto

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A federal judge recently dismissed a lawsuit filed by groups representing organic farmers and seed companies against Monsanto.

US District Court Judge Naomi Buchwald, for the Southern District of New York, threw out the case brought by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) and dozens of other plaintiff growers and organizations, criticizing the groups for a “transparent effort to create a controversy where none exists.”

In her ruling, Buchwald said Monsanto had not sued or even suggested taking any action against the plaintiffs. She found the plaintiffs claims to be unsubstantiated, “given that not one single plaintiff claims to have been so threatened.”

The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit last spring seeking legal protection from being sued by Monsanto if their crops are contaminated by the biotech giant’s patented genetically modified genes. They were not seeking any monetary compensation.

Last July, Monsanto filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that it would not sue a farmer if its patented GMOs are found in his field “as a result of inadvertent means.”

On January 31 Judge Buchwald heard oral arguments against the motion from the plaintiffs who were represented by Daniel Ravicher, an attorney with the Public Patent Foundation.

Jim Gerritsen, OSGATA president, said his group was disappointed by the judge’s ruling. “We think the judge erred in her ruling,” he told Reuters. “The reason we filed this lawsuit is because family farmers are at risk. That risk has not gone away.”

Gerritsen and Ravicher both have indicated that the plaintiffs may appeal.

(Source: Reuters)

© Copyright The Organic & Non-GMO Report, March 2012