Monsanto Canada Inc.

Monsanto Canada Inc.

May 03, 2007 11:34 ET

Court Dismisses Class Action Certification Application Brought Forward by Saskatchewan Organic Directorate

Case "replete with weakness in every respect" says Saskatchewan Court of Appeal

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(CCNMatthews - May 3, 2007) - The Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan has dismissed an appeal sponsored by the activist group Saskatchewan Organic Directorate (SOD) and two Saskatchewan organic farmers seeking Class Action certification under Saskatchewan's Class Actions Act.

The decision was announced May 2, 2007 in a 34-page written judgment released by the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan in the case of Larry Hoffman, L.B. Hoffman Farms Inc., and Dale Beaudoin vs. Monsanto Canada Inc. and Bayer CropScience Inc. Although there were two named appellants in the case - Hoffman and Beaudoin - the case is actually driven, and financially resourced, by the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate's Organic Agriculture Protection Fund.

The Appeal Court hearing was heard in December 2006 in Regina, Saskatchewan before the Honourable Mr. Justice Cameron, the Honourable Madam Justice Gerwing and the Honourable Mr. Justice Sherstobitoff. In making its judgment, the Court clearly articulated its views on arguments put forth by the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate, noting, "In our judgment, this action did not merit certification as a class action. So, the appeal is dismissed."

"We are obviously pleased with the Court's decision. Roundup Ready® canola technology has brought tremendous benefits to canola growers across Canada," said Trish Jordan, Monsanto Canada spokesperson. "Hopefully now the plaintiffs in this case will accept the Court's determination that their claims are without merit and stop trying to deny growers access to this beneficial technology."

Particularly telling were comments made by the Justices indicating the claims of trespass, nuisance and negligence did not provide a plausible basis for liability and it was the opinion of the Court that, "the application for certification was replete with weakness in every respect, and not just in respect of the question of whether the pleadings disclosed a cause or causes of action and the question of whether there existed an identifiable class. Despite these weaknesses, those in control of the action decided to press on with it."

"Food and feed products containing ingredients derived from plant biotechnology crops have a solid 10-year history of safe use and all current Roundup Ready crops available in the marketplace, including Roundup Ready canola, met or exceeded Canadian federal regulatory guidelines for food, feed and environmental release. The Court made special mention of this in its judgment," said Jordan. "SOD and its supporters are completely ignoring the reality that all types of farming can coexist with good farm management practices, the establishment of reasonable tolerances and thresholds for adventitious presence and cooperation between neighbors."

The plaintiffs in this case have until August 2, 2007 to launch an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Chronology of Events in SOD Class Action attempt

Jan. 2002 The Saskatchewan Organic Directorate (SOD) announces they
are going to sue Monsanto and Bayer for harm caused by
introduction of GM Canola

Nov. 1-2, 2004 First Court date hearing in group's attempt to have their
suit brought as a Class Action claim.

May 11, 2005 Judgment from Court denies the group certification status
saying they failed to meet any of the 5 required criteria
for certification as outlined in the Class Action Act.

May 25, 2005 SOD announces they will appeal. Press release quotes the
Chair of SOD's Organic Agriculture Protection Fund as
saying "We want our day in court!"

Aug 30, 2005 Court grants Leave to Appeal.

Oct 30, 2006 Application for Intervention in Appeal Hearing filed by
Friends of the Earth and Saskatchewan Environmental
Society filed

Nov 23, 2006 Court denies application to intervene filed by the above
mentioned groups. Dates previously set for Appeal Hearing
remain in place.

Dec 11, 2006 Appeal Hearing begins.

May 02, 2007 Saskatchewan Court of Appeal releases judgment dismissing

Contact Information

  • Monsanto Canada
    Trish Jordan
    (204) 985-1005