In February, 11 dicamba drift and crop damage lawsuits were consolidated into a federal multi-district litigation (MDL), and transferred to the U.S. District Court in Missouri.
These cases represent the first flush of lawsuits related to the dicamba-drift-damage crisis of 2016-2017. The cases have been filed by farmers from Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri.
Dicamba-resistant soybeans were released in 2016, although the new, reportedly low-volatility formulations of dicamba meant to be used with the dicamba-resistant seeds were not yet EPA approved.
Some farmers used dicamba anyway, and this illegal application resulted in dicamba drift and damage in 2016. By the 2017 season, the new, lower-volatility dicamba herbicides were available. Millions of acres were planted in the new dicamba-resistant soybeans, and the number of damage reports soared. The court cases in the MDL relate to damage from both purportedly illegal and legal use of dicamba herbicides on the new herbicide-resistant crops.
Court documents filed this week contain two “master complaints.” The first is a crop damage class action, and the second alleges antitrust violations. Lawyers representing the plaintiffs allege that defendants Monsanto and BASF are “commercializing a product that literally destroys its competition” (Beck, 2018).
This is just the latest twist in a slew of dicamba-related lawsuits. Plus, dicamba damage is still occurring- with 1.1 million acres of soybeans alone estimated to be impacted by the end of July, 2018.
Madelyn Beck, “Federal Suit Alleges Companies Knew Dicamba Would Drift, Monsanto Created Monopoly,” KUNC Radio, August 8, 2018.
Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., “Downing, Executive Committee File two New Master Complaints in Dicamba Litigation,” August 2, 2018.