LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- LAWFUEL – Legal News Network –Aug. 28, 2006–Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, PLLC announced today that it has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of rice farmers in Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and California against Bayer CropScience for contaminating the U.S. rice crop. Plaintiffs filed their suit this afternoon in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas in Little Rock. The United States Department of Agriculture recently announced that genetically modified rice, developed and tested by Bayer, had been found in samples taken from commercial long grain rice. Bayer’s genetically modified rice has not been approved for human consumption.
The legal complaint alleges that Bayer failed to prevent their unapproved rice from entering the food chain. As a result of Bayer’s actions, Japan and the European Union have placed strict limits on U.S. rice imports and the prices for U.S. rice have dropped dramatically.
The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as an injunction requiring Bayer to clean up the contamination from Bayer’s genetically modified rice. According to the USDA, Rice production in the U.S. is valued at about $1.9 billion. The market price of U.S. rice has dropped approximately ten percent since Bayer first announced that unapproved rice had been found in the food chain.
Richard S. Lewis, a partner and environmental legal expert with the Cohen, Milstein firm, explained that, “Our clients feel that Bayer should have taken stricter steps when growing this genetically modified rice to prevent it from contaminating the commercial rice market. Bayer’s actions have resulted in an unprecedented price drop financially impacting all rice farmers.”
Cohen, Milstein, a Washington, DC based firm, is one of the largest law firms in the country devoted exclusively to representing plaintiffs. Previously the firm successfully represented corn farmers in a class action against Aventis for contaminating the corn market with StarLink genetically modified corn, which had also not been approved for human consumption. Ralph Cloar, Jr. of the Cloar Law Firm in Little Rock, Arkansas is also serving as co-counsel in the case.
A copy of the complaint is available and can be emailed to members of the media, please contact James Pizzirusso at Cohen, Milstein 202 589-2257 or [email protected]