Farmers Sue Corteva Alleging Damage from OpenSky Herbicide

Two Montana farming companies, Goodian & Sons and JAG Farms, filed suit against Corteva Agriscience in March. Corteva removed the case, which purported that Corteva’s OpenSky herbicide resulted in substantial crop loss, to the District of Montana Thursday.

The case alleged that the operators of the farms purchased OpenSky to facilitate transitioning from planting 50% of their land with crops to a 100%-cropped system. The complaint noted that while the OpenSky label specifies certain soil acidity and rainfall amounts for use of the chemical in certain states, it does not provider any such guidance for Montana. While the application of OpenSky was initially successful, particularly with wheat, the plaintiffs claimed that lentils and canola crops ended up dying off. The plaintiffs cited test results,stating that OpenSky damaged the crops, and was in contact with Corteva’s area representative. The representative eventually said that the plaintiffs must consult with him as to what crops to grow with OpenSky in the future. As OpenSky dissipaited, the crops allegedly returned to normal.

The specific charges brought against Corteva include negligence, negligent design, strict liability, and breach of express warranty.

The complaint was removed to federal court in the District of Montana on grounds of diversity jurisdiction, as the farms are believed to be Montana citizens while Corteva is a citizen of Delaware. The farms are represented by Worden Thane and Corteva is represented by Corette Black Carlson & Mickelson.