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Court Sides with Monsanto in Class Action Request

Federal appeals court won't let lawyers for activist plaintiff to add more than 100,000 farmers to the handful now acting as plaintiffs.

A federal appeals court denied to certify an antitrust class action suit levied against Monsanto and other companies over biotechnology seed products sold to U.S. farmers, which accuses the companies of trying to control biotech soybean and corn prices.

Lawyers for the plaintiff were trying to add more than 100,000 farmers to the current handful now acting as plaintiffs. Monsanto General Counsel Charles Burson believes that "the plaintiffs in this case do not represent American farmers' opinions or experience about biotechnology farm products."

The ruling "helps bring this litigation advanced by a longtime critic of biotechnology one step closer to its end," adds Burson.

The original lawsuit was filed in 1999. In October 2003, the U.S. District Court originally denied the plaintiffs' efforts to certify a class action against Monsanto. Previously, the Court had granted Monsanto summary judgment on all the plaintiffs' claims that Monsanto wrongly introduced biotech crops.

In December 2003, the plaintiffs chose to appeal the District Court ruling that denied the plaintiffs' efforts to certify an antitrust class action against Monsanto.

The ruling by the Court of Appeals upholds the earlier decision by the District Court to deny class action status to plaintiffs' antitrust claims. Further, the District Court's decision dismissing the plaintiffs' claim Monsanto wrongfully commercialized biotech crops still stands.

TAGS: Soybean
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