Bayer CropScience: verdict in Arkansas biotech rice trial incomprehensible
Apr. 20, 2010
Bayer CropScience considers the verdict of April 15 in the genetically modified rice trial in Lonoke County, Arkansas, incomprehensible. The company announced that it will use all legal means available to reverse the decision. A jury in an Arkansas court had awarded compensatory damages in the amount of just under $6 million to fourteen rice farmers. “The facts in this case do not support this award of damages, and certainly not future damages,” said Bruce Mackintosh, General Counsel for Bayer CropScience LP.
In addition to the compensatory damages, the jury awarded punitive damages in the amount of $42 million. According to U.S. law, punitive damages may be awarded to plaintiffs in addition to compensatory damages if the defendant has acted in reckless disregard of the consequences. “This decision is especially incomprehensible to us, because the U.S. Department of Agriculture has completed a thorough and diligent investigation without concluding that Bayer CropScience violated any legal requirement with respect to low-level presence of genetically engineered rice in commercial rice. To insinuate a malicious act by Bayer in this case is completely unjustified,” said Mackintosh. Bayer CropScience has acted responsibly and appropriately at all times in the handling of its genetically enhanced rice.
"Furthermore, the amount awarded to the plaintiffs by the jury exceeds by far what is permitted by Arkansas law,” said Mackintosh. For that reason alone the verdict should be reversed, he added.
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