Lawsuits filed against Monsanto Co. (MON:US), the world’s largest seed company, over claims it failed to contain genetically altered wheat found on an Oregon farm, will be consolidated in Kansas, a judicial panel ruled.
At least 16 lawsuits will be sent to U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil in Kansas City for pretrial evidence gathering, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ruled yesterday.
Kansas is close to Monsanto’s St. Louis headquarters where “the majority of the common evidence is likely to be located,” the panel said in its decision.
Lawsuits were filed beginning in June after wheat modified to withstand Monsanto’s Roundup Ready weed killer was discovered growing on an Oregon farm eight years after nationwide field tests ended. Monsanto said in June that the wheat, found growing on less than 1 percent of the farmer’s 125-acre (51-hectare) field, could have been intentionally planted.
Discovery of the wheat prompted some Asian countries to halt imports of western-white and feed wheat. Plaintiffs, who include an environmental group and a Washington farm, accused Monsanto of failing to take necessary steps to prevent the altered wheat from contaminating regular wheat.
The case is In re Monsanto Co. Genetically Engineered Wheat Litigation, MDL 2473, U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (Washington).
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