GENET archive


9-Misc: Canadian organic farmers can proceed with class action suit against Monsanto and Bayer

-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Organic farmers granted leave to appeal class certification decision
SOURCE: Organic Agriculture Protection Fund, Canada
DATE:   30 Aug 2005

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Organic farmers granted leave to appeal class certification decision

Today the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal released Honourable Mr. Justice
Cameron's decision granting the certified organic farmers of Saskatchewan
leave to appeal the Court of Queen's Bench decision dated May 11, 2005
denying them class certification under Saskatchewan's Class Actions Act.
The farmers are seeking compensation for losses due to contamination of
organic fields and crops by Monsanto's and Bayer's genetically engineered

Judge Cameron agreed that the issues raised by the plaintiffs should be
dealt with by the Appeal Court. He agreed that the questions of whether
Judge Smith erred in her finding of no cause of action - an error which
cascades through her decisions on the remaining four tests required to
grant class certification - and whether she applied an overly rigorous
standard for class certifications should be examined by the Appeal Court.

Justice Cameron stated, "... I am satisfied the proposed appeal raises some
comparatively new and potentially controversial points of law, that it
transcends the particular in its implications, and that it is of
sufficient importance to the practice pertaining to this subject to
warrant attention by this Court."

Plaintiff Larry Hoffman says he feels encouraged by the decision. "It
gives us a chance to argue how the Class Actions Act should be applied.
The spirit of the law is to even out the odds between the Davids and the
Goliaths in the world.

The lower court decision made it too hard on us Davids, and we think
that's unfair. A farmer like me can't afford to take on a big company
like Monsanto when it threatens my livelihood and way of life. But if we
can join together in a class action, our combined strength can make it
possible to hold these companies accountable for their actions."

"This is great", says plaintiff Dale Beaudoin. "On behalf of 1000 plus
organic farmers we can continue to fight for our right to remain stewards
for sustainable agriculture. This is no minor issue. It is a matter of
independence and survival for all farmers world-wide."

- 30 -

For more information please contact:
Arnold Taylor, Chair, OAPF Committee, phone: (306) 252-2783 or
(306) 241-6125
Marc Loiselle, Research Director, OAPF Committee, phone (306) 258
-2192 or (306) 227-5825
For the decision and other details of the class action suit, please see


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