US Rice Farmers Awarded $136 million against Bayer CropScience

March 19, 2011 Arkansas Business News

Riceland Awarded $136.8 Million In Suit Against Bayer CropScience

A Stuttgart jury on Friday awarded Riceland Foods Inc. $136.8 million in its lawsuit against Bayer CropScience over genetically modified rice. The award is believed to be the largest in Arkansas history. The circuit court jury said Bayer CropScience owed Riceland $11.8 million in compensatory damages and $125 million in punitive damages.

In an e-mailed statement Friday night, Bayer CropScience expressed its disappointment with the verdict and said it was considering its legal options. It also noted that Arkansas law limits punitive damages to $1 million.

A Riceland spokesman, Bill J. Reed, said in an e-mailed statement: "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.

In April 2010, a Lonoke County Circuit Court found Bayer responsible for $5.9 million in compensatory and $42 million in punitive damages to 12 Lonoke County rice growers. Bayer appealed the decision. By Jan Cottingham