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Prosecuting American Farmers:
Monsanto's Investigations, Coerced Settlements & Lawsuits 

Chapter 3 from Monsanto vs. U.S. Farmers 

Center for Food Safety 12jan05

Mindfully.org note: 
Also see Heartbreak In The Heartland, about Percy Schmeiser and more on Monsanto

 

INVESTIGATIONS

The Process

Monsanto investigates at least 500 farmers
each year for possible patent infringement.

Monsanto has devoted significant resources to its prosecution of farmers accused of violating the company’s seed patents. It has built a department of 75 employees and set aside an annual budget of $10 million for the sole purpose of investigating and prosecuting farmers for patent infringement.28 Monsanto promotes a toll-free telephone number that allows farmers and businesses to place confidential calls to the company and to report suspected “infringement” activities by neighbors and customers. The company says it receives hundreds of calls and letters each year about these potential patent infringement cases.29 If Monsanto suspects someone, for instance, of planting saved seed, it will hire a private investigation firm, such as Robinson Investigations or Pinkerton, to pursue the farmer.30

In general, Monsanto’s prosecution efforts can be divided into three stages: investigations of farmers, out-of-court settlements, and litigation against farmers. Far more farmers have been investigated than have been sued by Monsanto, but depicting the full scope of Monsanto’s pursuit of farmers is nearly impossible. Nonetheless, public pronouncements and past reports paint a vivid picture of widespread investigation of farmers.

In 1998, Monsanto reported in a press release that there were some 475 patent violation cases, generated from over 1,800 leads, being investigated nationwide.31 In 1999, The Washington Post reported that the number of investigations had reached 525 in the United States and Canada.32 Monsanto confirmed this high level of investigative activity in an article published in 2003: “Monsanto has reviewed thousands of anonymous leads of growers allegedly breaking the rules, and will follow up on other leads as they develop.”33 In a 2004 publication, Monsanto claimed that, “Nearly 600 new seed piracy matters were opened in 2003.”34

More recently, in an Omaha World-Herald article from November 2004, it is mentioned that Monsanto will investigate 500 farmers this year, “as it does every year.”35Drawing from these sources, it is reasonable to speculate that the number of farmers who have been investigated reaches into the thousands. CFS has spoken to several farmers who have confirmed Monsanto’s aggressive actions. One farmer told CFS he was one of eight in his community to be investigated, and two others said they were among 25 in each of their communities to be investigated.36

 

Invasive Investigations

Monsanto’s private investigators arrive unexpectedly on farmers’ land and take samples from fields, often without permission, a practice that has instigated repeated trespassing accusations. “They say they don’t trespass—that’s bull,” one individual told CFS, explaining that investigators in his town posed as land mappers in order to take pictures in farmers’ fields and driveways.37 Another farmer concurred, sharing that it “wasn’t uncommon to see investigators taking pictures in his neighbors’ fields.”38 In 1997, Monsanto attempted to alleviate farmers’ concerns about these visits by removing from the 1996 Roundup Ready Soybean Grower Agreement a field-inspection provision allowing the company to access customers’ fields.39 As this report will show, the removal of this clause did not influence Monsanto’s conduct.

Anecdotal evidence shows that investigators spend anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks collecting samples and other data from targeted farmers’ land. Farmers often feel like criminals even before accusations are made, as investigators frequently solicit local police officers to escort them onto farmers’ properties.40

Farmers pursued by Monsanto often feel like criminals
even before accusations of wrongdoing are made.

The most invasive investigation known to CFS involves a Mississippi farmer who operates a farm supply business. Mitchell Scruggs first realized Monsanto was targeting him when he noticed investigators staked out around the outside of his store. Scruggs says his family could not leave their house, which shared space with his store, without feeling as though they were being watched by the nearby surveillance cameras. The company went so far as to purchase an empty lot across the street to aid in its surveillance, and investigators watched patrons of Scruggs’ store from just 500 feet away. Investigators also harassed these customers by following several of them home and warning them not to do business with Scruggs. One farmer who was followed home by these investigators confessed, “[I] always thought they tried to get to him through me.”41 Planes and helicopters frequently passed overhead, and Scruggs learned from people at the local airport that they too were hired by Monsanto to survey his store and surrounding farmland. Throughout all of this, and even though the investigators’ presence was obvious, they never approached Scruggs directly.42

Monsanto’s Legal Team

While most farmers are represented by a single attorney in the courtroom, Monsanto hires a number of law firms for almost every suit it files. For cases filed outside the Eastern District of Missouri, Monsanto hires an attorney from the farmer’s local area to serve as local counsel. The three firms that appear most frequently on the complaints against farmers are Thompson Coburn, LLP, Husch & Eppenberger, LLC, and Frilot Partridge Kohnke & Clements. Specific attorneys most often include Joel E. Cape, Miles P. Clements and Wayne K. McNeil from Frilot Partridge, and Joseph C. Orlet from both Thompson Coburn and Husch & Eppenberger.

In its prosecution of farmers, Monsanto has also turned to multibillion dollar, “universally recognized” law firms. In Mitchell Scruggs’ case—one of the only cases where there are almost as many defense attorneys on record as attorneys for Monsanto—Monsanto retained the law firm of Arnold & Porter.1 Litigation experience with biotechnology patent cases is an exceptional strength among the 700 lawyers on this firm’s staff. Homan McFarling and Kem Ralph are two farmers who have fought back hard against Monsanto, and when both of their cases went on appeal to the Federal Circuit, Monsanto retained former U.S. Solicitor General Seth P. Waxman of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, to prosecute the two farmers.2

1 Monsanto Co. v. Scruggs, 249 F. Supp. 2d 746, 750 (N.D. Miss. 2001).

2 Monsanto Co. v. McFarling, 302 F.3d 1291, 198-1299 (Fed. Cir. 2002), Oct. 16, 2002

While Scruggs’ experience is evidence of the extreme measures employed by investigators in their efforts to acquire proof for Monsanto’s allegations, at times investigators have been even more confrontational. While working in his general store one day, two men approached Gary Rinehart with a degree of aggressiveness that made him feel as though they were “just short of handcuffing” him. They asked if he was Gary Rinehart, identified themselves with business cards, and explained that they were there to settle with him about his soybean crop. Rinehart described one of the two men as “mouthy,” “intense,” and “smart alecky,” and was embarrassed by the way the men treated him in his own store.43 According to Rinehart’s attorney, the investigators were told to leave “because their belligerent behavior was causing customers to exit the store.”44 Ironically, Gary Rinehart is not even a farmer—the investigators had pursued the wrong man.

A Nebraska soybean farmer experienced the threatening conduct of Monsanto’s investigators when they first showed up on his property. After this farmer told the investigators that he was going inside to make some phone calls, one of the men proceeded to step in front of his front door, physically barring the farmer from entering his own home.45

Sometimes Monsanto’s investigations involve entrapment. In July 1998, a man showed up at Illinois farmer Eugene Stratemeyer’s farm and asked to buy some soybean seeds. Given that it was too late in the season to start a crop, the man explained that he wanted to grow the soybeans for erosion control. Stratemeyer agreed to do him this favor, charging the man only enough to cover the cost of cleaning and bagging the seed. As it turned out, Monsanto had hired this individual to purchase the seeds from Stratemeyer and soon after filed a lawsuit against Stratemeyer in his local court.46

Monsanto's investigators have been known to employ
elaborate deceptions to gain farmers' trust.

Monsanto’s investigators have used even more extreme tactics to deceive. In an effort to gain local confidence, one investigator reportedly attended Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings. This individual, who befriended members of the therapy group, was soon recognized as one of the investigators taking pictures of farmers in their fields and knocking on these same farmers’ doors with news that they were under investigation for saving patented seed.47

Given the aggressive nature of these pursuits, it is not surprising that Monsanto has been accused of breaking and entering. One farmer is “convinced” investigators broke into his office after finding evidence that someone had tampered with papers on his desk, closed his blinds, and left seed purchasing tickets in his copy machine. He also witnessed investigators hiding behind gravestones in a nearby cemetery videotaping workers in his fields.48

Not only are these investigations overly intrusive, they often produce erroneous or fabricated evidence. When the Roush family received Monsanto’s test results for samples taken from their fields in 1999, they found hand-drawn maps of fields in which the company claimed to have sampled for Roundup Ready soybeans. There was, however, one major flaw to this claim: In 1999, one field the company noted as having Roundup Ready soybeans was in fact planted with corn grown under contract for Weaver Popcorn Company. “Popcorn and soybeans look nothing alike,” Troy Roush explained. “There is no way they were in that field.”49

The Roushes’ experience is not unique. Monsanto told Arkansas farmer Ray Dawson that it spent over $250,000 on hiring Pinkerton investigators to inspect his property for three to four weeks. The company apparently fired these investigators, as well as the attorneys that initially had been hired to handle the case, because they could not find proof of patent infringement. The second group of investigators hired by Monsanto spent two days conducting the same inspection, only this time they claimed to have found sufficient evidence of infringement.50

 

Coerced Settlements

One farmer said Monsanto told him it spent $250,000
investigating him before coming up empty handed.

Following investigations, Monsanto usually sends threatening letters via certified mail to farmers suspected of planting or selling saved patented seed. The letter typically requests that the farmer pay a specified sum of money to avoid legal proceedings. Under financial duress, many farmers who have been accused of patent infringement based on insubstantial evidence have decided to settle out of court rather than face an expensive and lengthy lawsuit.

Given the aggressive nature of the letters farmers receive announcing Monsanto’s allegations, it is likely many farmers have been harassed or intimidated into settling out of court, innocent or not, in order to avoid paying substantial attorney fees. It has been reported that Monsanto’s investigators and attorneys vaunt their courtroom success as a way to intimidate farmers into settling before the company engages in legal proceedings.51 The most common threat farmers reported hearing was that Monsanto would “tie them up in court for years” if they chose not to settle. Gary Rinehart, the man investigators mistakenly pursued, recalls Monsanto’s arrogant approach to farmers: “When they [investigators] came up here, they were bragging to other farmers about all of the farmers they had put out of business.”52

Innocent or not, many farmers are coerced into 
settling out of court by Monsanto’s strong-arm tactics.

In addition to sending threatening letters to farmers, Monsanto also distributes letters listing the names of farmers prohibited from purchasing its products to thousands of seed dealers each year. These letters often pressure farmers who wish to retain this purchasing right into settling out of court, regardless of the legitimacy of the company’s investigation. “It’s easier to give in to them than it is to fight them,” said one farmer who is still restricted from using Monsanto’s products as a result of challenging the company’s claims in court.53

Many of these settlements with Monsanto, it has been reported, contain strict provisions that afford Monsanto the right to test the farmer’s crops for a set period of time, typically five years. These provisions also require farmers to present documents within 24 hours of Monsanto’s request, purchase a specific quantity of the company’s products, and disclose names of other people who have saved the company’s seeds. The settlements are usually confidential.

Monsanto claims it has settled with farmers for
millions of dollars in total damages since 2000.

In 1999, The Washington Post reported that nearly half of the company’s 525 investigations had been settled.54 While this is the only publicly available source describing (pre-legal action) settlements resulting from farmer investigations, Monsanto claims that since 2000, it has settled for millions of dollars in total damages.55 Due to the confidential nature of these settlements, exact amounts farmers agree to pay Monsanto are not available; nevertheless, we do know that one farmer, Carlyle Price of North Carolina, settled for $1.5 million.56

The company says it is not looking to profit from these settlements and claims the settlements go toward scholarships and other educational initiatives. A Monsanto spokesman, Brian Hurley, reported that any money the company wins is donated to the American Farm Bureau to pay for scholarships, but evidence shows that the company directs only $150,000 per year to the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture in the form of scholarships.57 It is unknown where the remaining millions are directed.

Some farmers agree to sign a settlement obligating them to purchase Monsanto’s products because the offered deal provides for a much smaller settlement fine. Clearly, this provision exemplifies Monsanto’s goal of binding farmers to its genetically engineered seeds and contracts. However, some farmers refuse to settle and subject themselves to paying both attorney fees and larger settlements in order to avoid making a commitment to Monsanto.58

Those not willing to acquiesce to Monsanto’s demands enter the most aggressive stage of these pursuits—the lawsuit.

 

Lawsuits

As part of a multiyear research project, CFS has collected and analyzed the numerous lawsuits Monsanto has filed against American farmers. What follows is a summary of specific data compiled regarding these lawsuits. (See Appendix A: Lawsuits Filed Against American Farmers by Monsanto, for detailed information regarding these lawsuits).59

 

Number of Farmers/Businesses Sued By State

Key: Number of Farmers and Businesses Sued Per State

 

1. Status of Lawsuits Filed Against U.S. Farmers

2. Number of Active Lawsuits

3. Lawsuits Filed by Geographic Location

4. Lawsuits Filed by Year

 

Number of Lawsuits by Year

 

5. Information on Judgments

In many cases, the final results of Monsanto’s lawsuits against farmers remain unknown as they have ended in confidential settlements that cannot be disclosed without risking further sanctions by the court. Farmers who breach this confidentiality stipulation risk the annulment of their settlement, and may face a fine that is considerably larger than their judgment.61 Of those cases with publicly recorded monetary judgments, the data reveal a number of sizeable payments to Monsanto. In many cases, the figures indicated may be lower than the actual payments farmers have to make because they may not include expert witness fees, post judgment interest, plaintiff’s attorney fees, costs of testing fields, etc. For example, in Monsanto Co et al v. Thomason et al, which involved two plaintiffs, Monsanto Company and Delta Pine, the defendants had to pay $447,797.05 to Monsanto and $222,748.00 to Delta Pine in damages. In addition, they also faced $279,741.00 in attorney fees to Monsanto, $57,469.13 in costs and advanced expenses, and $75,545.83 for testing fields, as well as additional attorney fees to Delta Pine to the tune of $82,281.75 and $5,801.00 in costs and advanced expenses.65

Farmers issued monetary judgments are typically also issued permanent injunctions. Farmers with injunctions are forbidden from buying and/or selling Monsanto’s products.

 

Cases Arranged by Size of Known Judgements

Case 					Monetary Award	Date
Anderson, No. 4:01:CV-01749 		3,052,800.00 	 6/4/03
Dawson, No. 98-CV-2004 			2,586,325.00 	12/19/01
Ralph, No. 02-MC-26  			2,410,206.00 	 7/29/03
Roman, No. 1:03-CV-00068  		1,250,000.00 	 8/17/04
McAllister (S.B.D., Inc.), No. 02-CV-73	1,000,000.00	 9/10/04
Eaton, No. 00-CV-435  			  866,880.00 	10/11/01
Thomason, No. 97-CV-1454  		  447,797.05 	 8/20/01
Etheridge, No. 00-CV-1592  		  377,978.15 	 6/4/02
Morlan, No. 02-CV-77  			  353,773.00 	 3/3/04
Gainey, No. 03-CV-99  			  338,137.00 	 2/23/04
Rogers, No. 02-CV-358  			  325,298.00 	 5/7/04
Trantham, No. 00-CV-2656  		  318,397.50 	10/2/01
Schuler, No. 01-CV-1015  		  239,289.00 	 5/24/02
Godfredson, No. 99-CV-1691 		  175,000.00 	 6/20/01
Kelley, No. 4:2004cv01428 		  163,770.00 	11/12/04
Lea, No. 00-CV-37  			  140,665.00 	 5/27/02
White, No. 00-CV-1761 			  115,000.00 	 9/7/01
Tabor, No. 03-CV-1008  			  110,000.00 	 2/11/04
Styron, No. 1:98-CV-00654 		  100,000.00	 3/15/99
Hartkamp, No. 6:00-CV-164 		   75,000.00 	 8/30/01
Robinson, No. 03-CV-00115 		   75,000.00 	 4/29/04
Snowden, No. 5:00-CV-00044 		   75,000.00 	 2/24/00
Britt, No. 02-CV-10 			   67,664.80 	 8/3/02
Corbett, No. 03-CV-207 			   65,000.00 	 4/28/03
Harris, No. 01-CV-253 			   62,674.00 	 9/12/02
Hunt, No. 02-CV-11  			   61,150.00 	12/23/02
Knackmus, No. 98-CV-261  		   50,000.00 	 8/17/98
Rogge, No. 4:01-CV-03295 		   48,720.00 	 4/25/02
Garbers, No. 99-CV-632 			   45,000.00 	 8/13/99
Moore, No. 99-CV-1195  			   44,000.00 	 2/7/01
Meekins, No. 02-CV-33  			   42,742.80 	 7/8/02
Meekins, No. 02-CV-32  			   41,795.60 	 7/9/02
Hicks, No. 03-CV-3249  			   41,753.75 	 8/12/04
Garrell, No. 01-CV-230  		   34,316.89 	 8/19/02
Timmerman, No. 02-CV-1631 		   30,000.00 	 6/12/03
Stratemeyer, No. 99-CV-1218 		   16,874.28 	 6/24/04
Bates, No. 97-CV-953 			    5,595.00 	 2/20/98

 

6. Lack of Adequate Legal Defense Representation

Monsanto, a multi-billion dollar company, is pressing cases against farmers who operate on a comparatively thin profit margin and, thus, have far fewer legal resources.67Many farmers cannot afford legal representation and must fight Monsanto alone if sued by the company. Farmers who are sued by Monsanto and cannot afford legal representation face even higher expenses if they signed a technology agreement since they are forced to answer a complaint in the federal court in St. Louis, regardless of where their farm is located.

For complete report at CFS website

The Center for Food Safety
660 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, #302
Washington DC 20003
P 202.547.9359
F 202.547.9429
office@centerforfoodsafety.org 


Farmers are being sued for having
GMOs on their property that they
did not buy,
do not want,
will not use
and cannot sell.

— Tom Wiley
a North Dakota farmer


 

NOTES

1 Monsanto Co., 2004 Annual Report, available at www.monsanto.com/monsanto/layout/investor/financial/annual_reports.asp 

2 Stewart Laidlaw, “Starlink Fallout Could Cost Billions.” Toronto Star, (January 9, 2001).

3 Charles Benbrook, “Genetically Engineered Crops and Pesticide Use in the United States: The First Nine Years,” BioTech InfoNet Technical Paper Number 7, October 2004.

4 Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology Factsheet “Genetically Modified Crops in the United States,” August 2004, p. 4; available at http://pewagbiotech.org/resources/factsheets/display.php3?FactsheetID=2 

5 Graham Brookes & Peter Barfoot, “Co-existence in North American agriculture: can GM crops be grown with conventional & organic crops?” PG Economics Ltd, (June 7, 2004); available at www.pgeconomics.co.uk/pdf/CoexistencereportNAmericafinalJune2004.pdf 

6 In 2001, ETC Group reported that Monsanto was responsible for seed technology for 91% of the world’s genetically engineered crops (“Ag Biotech Countdown: Vital Statistics and GM Crops,” Geno-Types at 1 (June 2002); available at www.etcgroup.org/documents/biotech_countdown_2002.pdf). Additionally, CFS compared recent figures from ISAAA’s statistics on world biotech crop hectares (www.isaaa.org/kc/CBTNews/press_release/briefs30/es_b30.pdf) and Monsanto’s biotech crop acreage (www.monsanto.com/monsanto/content/investor/financial/reports/2004/Q42004Acreage.pdf) to confirm that Monsanto’s control of seed technology has stayed constant at approximately 90%.

7 Daniel Charles, Lords of the Harvest at 201 (2001). See also Moeller, David, Farmers’ Guide to GMOs at 8, RAFI-FLAG (November 2004).

8 Daniel Charles, Lords of the Harvest at 196 (2001).

9 Troy Roush, phone interview with CFS (August 28, 2003). 10 Anonymous farmer, phone interview with CFS (October 10, 2003).

11 Anonymous farmer, phone interview with CFS (October 2003).

12 See Brief Amici Curiae of American Corn Growers Association & National Farmers Union in Support of the Petitioners, J.E.M. Ag Supply v. Pioneer Hi-Bred, Int’l., 534 U.S. 124, 122 S. Ct. 593, 151 L. Ed. 2d 508 (2001), r’hrg denied, U.S., 122 S. Ct. 1600 (2002), see also, Lara E. Ewens, “Seed Wars: Biotechnology, Intellectual Property and the Quest for High Yield Seeds,” 23 B.C. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 285, 286 (2000).

13 Daniel Charles, Lords of the Harvest at 34-35 (2001).

14 Gregory D. Graff & James Newcomb, “Agricultural Biotechnology at the Crossroads,” BioEconomic Research Associates, 23-25 (2003).

15 Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, “U.S. vs. EU: An examination of the trade issues surrounding genetically modified food,” (August 2003), available at http://pewagbiotech.org/resources/issuebriefs/europe.pdf.

16 ibid.

17 Monsanto Co., 2005 Technology/Stewardship Agreement, para. 4, Grower Agrees.

18 Monsanto Co., 2005 Technology Use Guide, at 19.

19 Monsanto Co., 2005 Technology/Stewardship Agreemen at para. 6, Grower Understands; see also Monsanto Co., 2005 Technology Use Guide, at 19.

20 Monsanto Co., TechnologyStewardship Agreement, para. 4, Grower Agrees

21 Monsanto Co., 2005 Technology Use Guide, at 15.

22 Monsanto Co., 2005 Technology Use Guide, at 17.

23 ibid.

24 Monsanto Co., 2005 Technology/Stewardship Agreement, para. 7, General Terms.

25 CFS is aware of eight cases against farmers that have ended in bankruptcy (according to a search done on the PACER database for bankruptcy cases between 1997 & 2004 in which Monsanto is listed as a party).

26 Monsanto Co., 2005 Technology/Stewardship Agreement, para. 8, Monsanto’s Remedies.

27 Monsanto Co., 2005 Technology/Stewardship Agreement.

28 See Peter Shinkle, “Monsanto Reaps Some Anger with Hard Line on Reusing Seed,” supra, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, (May 19, 2003). See also Daniel Charles, Lords of the Harvest at 115-117, 154, 156 (2001). In discussing the history of Pioneer Hi-Bred and its commitment to the best interests of the farmer, Charles quotes Pioneer’s Tom Urban as saying, “Monsanto didn’t understand the seed business… I’m sorry, they didn’t understand the seed business.”

29 Monsanto Co., Seed Piracy Update, (2003).

30 See Jill Sudduth, Where the Wild Wind Blows: Genetically Altered Seed and Neighboring Farmers, Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0015 at para. 6 (2001). See also Rich Weiss, “Seeds of Discord: Monsanto’s Gene Police Raise Alarm on Farmer’s Rights, Rural Tradition,” The Washington Post at A6 (Feb. 3, 1999).

31 Monsanto Co., Monsanto Releases Seed Piracy Case Settlement Details, press release (Sept. 29, 1998). This release reported 475 seed piracy cases investigated by Monsanto nationwide, generated from over 1,800 leads.

32 Rich Weiss, 'Seeds of Discord: Monsanto’s Gene Police Raise Alarm on Farmer’s Rights, Rural Tradition,” The Washington Post at A6 (Feb. 3, 1999).

33 Monsanto Co., Seed Piracy Update, (2003).

34 Monsanto Co., Seed Piracy Update, (2004).

35 “Bean Detectives Visit Nebraskan,” Omaha World-Herald (Nov. 7, 2004).

36 Anonymous farmers, phone interviews with CFS (October 5, 2003; October 19, 2003; October 23, 2003).

37 Gary Rinehart, phone interview with CFS (August 28, 2003).

38 Hal Swann, phone interview with CFS (October 19, 2003).

39 Wayne Board, Monsanto may take legal steps against catching soybean seeds, Lubbock Avalance-Journal (May 24, 1997), available at http://www.lubbockonline.com/news/052597/monsanto.htm

40 Anonymous farmer, phone interview with CFS (August 15, 2003).

41 Hal Swann, phone interview with CFS (October 19, 2003).

42 Mitchell Scruggs, phone interview with CFS (August 18, 2003).

43 Gary Rinehart, phone interview with CFS (October 20, 2003).

44 Leland Corley, phone interview with CFS (October 28, 2003).

45 Anonymous farmer, phone interview with CFS (October 5, 2003).

46 Forgery Issue Important, Says Lawyer, CROPCHOICE NEWS, (12/11/02), available at http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstryc304.html?recid=1188 

47 Gary Rinehart, phone interview with CFS (October 20, 2003).

48 Anonymous farmer, phone interview with CFS (November 16, 2003).

49 E-mail correspondence with Troy Roush (August 28, 2003).

50 Ray Dawson, phone interview with CFS (August 21, 2003).

51 Anonymous farmer, phone interview with CFS (November 16, 2003).

52 Gary Rinehart, phone interview with CFS (September 4, 2003).

53 Hal Swann, phone interview with CFS (October 19, 2003).

54 Rich Weiss, Seeds of Discord: Monsanto’s Gene Police Raise Alarm on Farmer’s Rights, Rural Tradition, THE WASHINGTON POST, at A6 (Feb. 3, 1999).

55 Monsanto Co., Seed Piracy Update (2004).

56 Richard Davis, Don’t save RR Soybeans, Carolina/Virginia Farmer, (June 2003).

57 Leonard, Christopher. Soybean-Seed Lawsuits Pit Farmers against Biotechnology Companies, COLUMBIA (MISSOURI) DAILY TRIBUNE (April 5, 2000), available at http://www.biotech-info.net/soy-seed_lawsuits.html.

58 Anonymous farmer, phone interview with CFS (October 5, 2003).

59 All information in Appendix A: Lawsuits Filed Against American Farmers by Monsanto, was derived from court documents in the public record (PACER: http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov) and CFS interviews with farmers and their legal representation.

60 Occasionally there were instances of multiple cases listed against the same defendant(s), for instance when a case was removed to another district or state due to lack of jurisdiction. Taking the most conservative approach we calculated each of these lawsuits as one to reach a final lawsuit number of 90. Counting each case of multiple filing or removal of jurisdiction as a separate lawsuit would bring the total number to 96. All 96 lawsuits are included in Appendix A.

61 One lawsuit, Monsanto Co. v. Bandy et al involved 27 defendants total, 24 farmers and three businesses. This was an anomaly however; all other lawsuits filed involved fewer than 10 defendants.

62 In three cases, Monsanto Company v. Anderson & Jones Inc, et al, Monsanto co. v. Lea and Monsanto Co. v. Morlan, the same or similar lawsuit was filed twice in the Eastern District of Missouri.

63 In Monsanto Company v. Anderson & Jones Inc, et al, Monsanto filed two lawsuits in the Eastern District of Missouri, in 1999 and 2000 respectively. Both lawsuits were subsequently dismissed for the Court’s lack of personal jurisdiction over the defendants. The company then filed a third lawsuit in the Southern District of Texas in 2001. Based on data available, although the third lawsuit was not technically a removal of jurisdiction, it appears to be similar if not the same in nature as the previous two lawsuits. Therefore, in our calculations of the total number of lawsuits filed (90), we decided to conservatively count all three Monsanto Company v. Anderson & Jones Inc, et al lawsuits as one. Furthermore, there were two cases, Monsanto co. v. Lea and Monsanto Co. v. Morlan, in which the defendants were able to transfer jurisdiction to a different division of the Eastern District of Missouri, but not a different District in Missouri.

64 Anonymous farmer, phone interview with CFS (September 24, 2003).

65 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Monsanto Company and Delta and Pine Land Company v. Dallas Thomason, David.D. Thomason and Lucknow, Inc et al., filed January 22, 2002.

66 These figures do not represent the actual monetary awards Monsanto has received as a result of these lawsuits; monetary judgments have been publicly recorded in only 36 of the 90 total lawsuits filed (http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov/). In the remaining 53 cases, many are known to have ended in settlements, which likely included monetary awards for Monsanto. It is likely as well that in some cases no monies were awarded to Monsanto.

67 According to USDA, the average household income for farm operators was $65,757 in 2002. See USDA, Agriculture Economy Improves in 2003, (October, 2003).

68 Mellon, Margaret and J. Rissler, Gone to Seed: Transgenic Contaminants in the Traditional Seed Supply, Union of Concerned Scientists, (February 24, 2004). Available at http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_environment/biotechnology/page.cfm?pageID=1315.

 

source: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/pubs/CFSMOnsantovsFarmerReport1.13.05.pdf (3.64 MB PDF file) 13jan05

 

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