By Leigh Kreimeier
Stuttgart Daily Leader
Stuttgart, Ark. The circuit court jury awarded $16.9 million in total damages Friday — laying blame at 70 percent for Bayer Crop Science and 30 percent for Riceland Foods — resulting in $11.9 million for Riceland Foods. Riceland also received $125 million in punitive damages.
The jury deliberated from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Friday in the 19-day trial that began Feb. 22 in the Arkansas County Circuit Courtroom in Stuttgart.
The jury returned stating Bayer Crop Science was negligent in its handling of genetically-modified rice, but not of fraud or a deceptive act by a company. The jury also stated that there was no negligence on the part of Riceland toward the three farming operations consisting of 29 plaintiffs in the case, which left Bayer 100 percent responsible to the farmers.
“We are pleased that the jury’s award recognizes the tremendous harm caused to Riceland and the entire rice industry when Bayer contaminated the U.S. rice supply with its Liberty Link rice,” Bill Reed, vice president of corporate communications and public affairs at Riceland, said.
According to Reed, Riceland feels vindicated that the jury also found that Bayer was solely responsible for the farmers’ damages resulting from the loss of the European Union market.
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