Arguments were heard Sept. 26 on whether to coordinate the 15 lawsuits brought against Monsanto Company after the discovery of genetically modified wheat in an Oregon field.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation heard the arguments and is deciding if the lawsuits should be heard in the Eastern District of Washington or the District of Oregon, according to the National Law Journal. Although Washington is home to a good percentage of U.S. soft white wheat farmers, the District of Oregon serves as the “focal point” of the litigation.
The majority of the lawsuits were brought by farmers of soft white wheat and other varieties that lost money after export markets, mainly Japan and South Korea suspended imports of U.S. soft white wheat. Prices promptly fell and it took months for countries to remove their import bans.
The GM wheat was discovered to be a Roundup Ready variety that Monsanto tested 15 years ago but withdrew from testing after many countries vowed not to import any GM wheat.