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Federal judge dismisses farmers’ class action suit against Monsanto

Farmers sought protection against potential patent infringement lawsuits

After losing a poisoning lawsuit earlier this month, Monsanto Co. got a courtroom victory last week when a federal judge tossed out a class action lawsuit that a group of farmers had filed against the agriculture giant.

Dozens of plaintiffs—including the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association—sued the St. Louis-based company in March 2011, seeking court protection against possible patent infringement lawsuits. The farmers, none of whom use Monsanto’s patented seeds, feared legal action if their crops were accidentally contaminated with the company’s genetically modified seeds.

Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ruled that the plaintiffs had “engaged in a transparent attempt to create a controversy where none exists,” as Monsanto had never threatened to file any such lawsuits against the organic farmers.

Monsanto has denied that it would ever sue farmers for inadvertent use of its products, but Reuters reports that the company filed more than 140 such lawsuits between 1997 and April 2010. Some farmers reportedly have stopped growing profitable crops such as corn for fear of accidental contamination. Lawyers for the farmers say they plan to appeal.

Read more at Reuters.

Alanna Byrne

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