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Supreme Court Declines to Hear Suit Against Monsanto
01/13/2014 03:19 PM ET  

The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear a case against Monsanto brought by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, led by Maine organic seed farmer Jim Gerritsen.

The U.S. Supreme Court has dealt a fatal blow to a case brought by a Maine-based group against Monsanto Co. over its genetically-modified seed.

In a ruling issued today, the court decided not to take up the case involving Monsanto's patented seed, which has been genetically engineered to resist the herbicide Roundup.

Jim Gerritsen, owner of Wood Prarie Farm in Bridgewater, was among a group of organic and conventional farmers who had contended that they would be subject to patent-infringement lawsuits if Monsanto's engineered seed accidently contaminated their crops. Gerritsen is president of the Maine-based Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, the lead plaintiff in the suit.

A lower court dismissed the case, saying that the plaintiffs' claims were unsubstianted because none of them had acutally been threatened with a lawsuit. Their appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found in Monsanto's favor, and the plaintiffs then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Monanto acknowledges that it has sued in cases where it contends that farmers were using its patented seed without paying royalties. But the company has claimed that it has no intentions to sue when nearby crops are inadvertantly contaminated.

In a statement, Gerritsen expressed disappointment that the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to take up the case. "The Supreme Court failed to grasp the extreme predicament family farmers find themselves in," Gerritsen says.


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