LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The law firms of Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, PLLC and Emerson Poynter LLP have filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against Bayer CropScience in the Binkley v. Bayer CropScience class action case pending in federal court here.



The plaintiffs seek to prohibit Bayer from providing misleading communications on its Web site regarding a testing method that Bayer developed to detect the presence of its genetically modified Liberty Link rice. Plaintiffs are asking the court to order Bayer to provide corrective information to the public and to disclose that Bayer's testing method and certification procedure differ from rice standards in other countries -- particularly important export markets in the European Union.



Lead plaintiff Binkley originally filed his lawsuit against Bayer in August after the USDA announced that Bayer's unapproved Liberty Link rice had been found in samples taken from commercial long grain rice. After the USDA's announcement, Japan and the EU placed strict limits on U.S. rice imports, and the prices for U.S. rice have dropped dramatically. Losses to farmers in Arkansas, the largest rice producing state, are estimated to exceed $80-$100 million.



The EU has declared that it will not accept imports of U.S. rice that contain Bayer's unapproved Liberty Link rice at levels in excess of .01 percent. Plaintiffs' motion alleges, however, that Bayer is only testing to detect the presence of Liberty Link at levels as low as .1 percent -- a standard that is 10 times more lenient than the EU allows.



Since Bayer has developed this more relaxed standard, numerous U.S. rice shipments to the EU have tested positive for genetically modified rice and been rejected.



Despite the EU's actions, Bayer has declared on its Web site that its testing method has been "accepted" by the EU and encourages rice farmers to have their rice tested and certified at Bayer-endorsed laboratories. Plaintiffs are asking a court to order corrective notice informing farmers that the Bayer standard is less stringent than the one used by the EU.



Richard S. Lewis, a partner and head of the environmental practice with Washington, D.C.-based Cohen, Milstein, explained that, "Our clients feel that Bayer should provide a full disclosure on its website and let farmers know that Bayer's standard does not ensure acceptance of U.S. rice into the EU marketplace."



Scott Poynter, a partner with the Little Rock-based firm, Emerson Poynter, said, "Everyday Bayer fails to provide full and complete information to the public, it becomes more difficult for farmers to market their rice."



SOURCE: Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll PLLC via Business Wire.