Monsanto and BASF Face New Dicamba Lawsuit

Triple Eaton Farms, a Mississippi farm owned by Arthur Eaton, filed a lawsuit against Monsanto and BASF claiming they grew plants and crops which were susceptible to dicamba and encountered a yield loss. They said their plants showed symptoms of dicamba damage. The plaintiff alleges this damage is a result of dicamba-resistant seeds and the Xtend Crop System produced by the defendants.

“Not only did Defendants release their dangerous system onto the market, creating high risk of harm, but everything they did and failed to do increased that risk, all but ensuring damage to non-dicamba resistant plants and crops. That damage in fact served Defendants’ purpose of pressuring farmers to purchase dicamba-resistant seed out of self-protection. Defendants created and carried out a scheme of ecological disaster for their financial gain,” the complaint claimed.

Triple Eaton Farms, LLC is represented by Morgan and Morgan. The farm asked for monetary and compensatory relief, including punitive damages and attorney’s fees. The petition claims the defendants knew of dicamba’s volatility and that it is prone to spray drift.

Monsanto and BASF have faced other lawsuits related to dicamba pesticide and dicamba resistant plants.  In one lawsuit in the Eastern District of Arkansas, a peach tree farmer received a $265 million verdict against Monsanto. A multidistrict litigation centered in the Eastern District of Missouri is also ongoing.

Although the complaint is based around Monsanto’s dicamba-based crop system, the plaintiffs also discuss how Monsanto’s sale of Roundup herbicide has changed agriculture and created a “dangerous cycle” where weeds become resistant to glyphosate and cause farmers to apply higher doses or change herbicides. The complaint claims a similar outcome is possible for the dicamba system.

The complaint alleged Monsanto created and recognized the opportunity for a new solution to problems introduced by Roundup, and developed a system featuring dicamba, a pesticide invented by BASF. Dicamba was first sold by BASF in the 1960s but was used in pre-planting or post-harvest stages. Monsanto and BASF made agreements to promote an entire crop system based on dicamba by creating resistant plants. The complaint alleged this was done without adequate testing and despite warnings from scientists.