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Judge Sides With Monsanto: Ridicules Farmers’ Right to Grow Food Without Fear, Contamination and Economic Harm

By Jane Ayers

On February 24, Judge Naomi Buchwald handed down her ruling on a motion to dismiss in the case of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Assn et al v. Monsanto after hearing oral argument on January 31st in Federal District Court in Manhattan.  Her ruling to dismiss the case brought against Monsanto on behalf of organic farmers, seed growers and agricultural organizations representing farmers and citizens was met with great disappointment by the plaintiffs.
Plaintiff lead attorney Daniel Ravicher said, “While I have great respect for Judge Buchwald, her decision to deny farmers the right to seek legal protection from one of the world’s foremost patent bullies is gravely disappointing.  Her belief that farmers are acting unreasonable when they stop growing certain crops to avoid being sued by Monsanto for patent infringement should their crops become contaminated maligns the intelligence and integrity of those farmers.  Her failure to address the purpose of the Declaratory Judgment Act and her characterization of binding Supreme Court precedent that supports the farmers’ standing as ‘wholly inapposite’ constitute legal error.  In sum, her opinion is flawed on both the facts and the law.  Thankfully, the plaintiffs have the right to appeal to the Court of Appeals, which will review the matter without deference to her findings.”
Monsanto’s history of aggressive investigations and lawsuits brought against farmers in America have been a source of concern for organic and non-GMO farmers since Monsanto’s first lawsuit brought against a farmer in the mid-90’s.  Since then, 144 farmers have had lawsuits brought against them by Monsanto for alleged violations of  their patented seed technology.  Monsanto has brought charges against more than 700 additional farmers who have settled out-of-court rather than face Monsanto’s belligerent litigious actions. Many of these farmers claim to not have had the intention to grow or save seeds that contain Monsanto’s patented genes. Seed drift and pollen drift from genetically engineered crops often contaminate neighboring fields. If Monsanto’s seed technology is found on a farmer’s land without contract they can be found liable for patent infringement.

 

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