Friday, March 2, 2012

CBAN news-Monsanto Wins Dismissal of Organic Growers

In a very disappointing decision, a U.S. judge has ruled against farmers and sided with on....

Unfortunately a US judge has ruled against US and Canadian farmers in their suit to protect themselves from being sued by Monsanto. The growers claimed that Monsanto "aggressively asserted" its patent claims against hundreds of U.S. farmers and sought a ruling that the patents for genetically engineered seeds are invalid because they are "injurious." The lawyer says they will appeal.

Monsanto Wins Dismissal of Organic Growers

Monsanto has won the dismissal of a lawsuit by growers of organic crops seeking to have its patents for genetically altered seeds invalidated. U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan threw out the organic growers‚ lawsuit in a ruling dated Feb. 24, saying it represented no controversy and that she had no jurisdiction over the suit. Organic farmers, seed companies and food safety groups sued St. Louis-based Monsanto in March 2011 seeking court protection against possible lawsuits by the company for patent infringement if genetically modified crops were mistakenly found among their yields. "There is no evidence that plaintiffs are infringing defendants‚ patents, nor have plaintiffs suggested when, if ever, such infringement will occur," Buchwald wrote in her opinion. Monsanto's general counsel, David Snively, said, "The ruling makes it clear that there was neither a history of behavior nor a reasonable likelihood that Monsanto would pursue patent infringement matters against farmers who have no interest in using the company‚s patented seed products."

From Press Release: Organic Seed Growers and Trade Associations (OSGATA)

Plaintiff lead attorney Daniel Ravicher said, "While I have great respect for Judge Buchwald, her decision to deny farmers the right to seek legal protection from one of the world's foremost patent bullies is gravely disappointing. Her belief that farmers are acting unreasonable when they stop growing certain crops to avoid being sued by Monsanto for patent infringement should their crops become contaminated maligns the intelligence and integrity of those farmers. Her failure to address the purpose of the Declaratory Judgment Act and her characterization of binding Supreme Court precedent that supports the farmers‚ standing as Œwholly inapposite‚ constitute legal error. In sum, her opinion is flawed on both the facts and the law. Thankfully, the plaintiffs have the right to appeal to the Court of Appeals, which will review the matter without deference to her findings."

Monsanto's history of aggressive investigations and lawsuits brought against farmers in America have been a source of concern for organic and non-GMO farmers since Monsanto's first lawsuit brought against a farmer in the mid-90's. Since then, 144 farmers have had lawsuits brought against them by Monsanto for alleged violations of  their patented seed technology. Monsanto has brought charges against more than 700 additional farmers who have settled out-of-court rather than face Monsanto's belligerent litigious actions. Many of these farmers claim to not have had the intention to grow or save seeds that contain Monsanto's patented genes. Seed drift and pollen drift from genetically engineered crops often contaminate neighboring fields. If Monsanto's seed technology is found on a farmer's land without contract they can be found liable for patent infringement.

"Family farmers need the protection of the court," said Maine organic seed farmer Jim Gerritsen, President of lead plaintiff OSGATA. "We reject as naïve and undefendable the judge's assertion that Monsanto's vague public relations commitment‚ should be a source of comfort‚ to plaintiffs. The truth is we are under threat and we do not believe Monsanto. The truth is that American farmers and the American people do not believe Monsanto. Family farmers deserve our day in court and this flawed ruling will not deter us from continuing to seek justice."

The case is Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association v. Monsanto Co., 11-02163, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator 
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) 
Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
Suite 206, 180 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 1P5 
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext. 25
Fax: 613 241 2506

Watch and share the new animated video on GM alfalfa <>


Julie said...

i got this letter in my inbox today and was devastated. they did appeal... man. if i was a fly on the wall in the courtroom during that hearing...

Linda said...

The government and the judiciary system have a responsibility to support farmers against Monsanto and other similar businesses. To have the ability to sue people who grow the food we eat, and devastate their farms and income is beyond insanity.This decision so clearly tells you the clout that they have. Pathetic.

Iz said...

this angers me.

John said...

I think that the government and certain members of the judiciary system have been collaborating to destroy those organic farmers who refuse to use toxins to grow their food. That’s why I think the government shouldn’t allow such a small number of corporations to build monopoly positions in the food industry. I am a great fan of organic food and in Canada organic farming has recently been on the rise and I think that similar steps will have detrimental consequences as far as the future development of this industry sector is concerned. We should take this as a warning to act until it's too late.