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Dicamba Damage Lawsuits

Farmers are bringing lawsuits against Monsanto, Dupont, and BASF Corporation — manufacturers of dicamba, a powerful herbicide developed to eliminate “superweeds.” The farmers allege that the herbicide drifted onto their farms, killing crops worth billions.

Dicamba was previously not allowed to be directly applied on crops due to its toxicity and tendency to drift off-target, potentially destroying crops on other farms. However, long-term use of Roundup, an alternative weedkiller, has led to resistance to glyphosate — its main active chemical.

Dicamba Damage Lawsuits

Farmers are bringing lawsuits against Monsanto, Dupont, and BASF Corporation — manufacturers of dicamba, a powerful herbicide developed to eliminate “superweeds.” The farmers allege that the herbicide drifted onto their farms, killing crops worth billions.

Dicamba was previously not allowed to be directly applied on crops due to its toxicity and tendency to drift off-target, potentially destroying crops on other farms. However, long-term use of Roundup, an alternative weedkiller, has led to resistance to glyphosate — its main active chemical. 

This development caused farmers to switch to the more potent dicamba. 

The dicamba lawsuits also allege that the manufacturers tried to take advantage of the damage caused by the herbicide by developing and marketing new strains of dicamba-resistant cotton and soybeans seeds, effectively compelling farmers to buy its seeds to prevent further damage to their crops. 

Farmers whose crops have been affected by dicamba can now seek and get compensation for their losses. Monsanto (now a Bayer Subsidiary) has reached an agreement to pay up to $300 million to qualified farmers who suffered losses from 2015 to 2020, as a result of dicamba sprayed over the top of dicamba-resistant cotton and soybean farms. 

The company will also settle litigation expenses, attorney fees, and claims administration costs. 

If you have suffered losses from dicamba damage, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact an attorney who will initiate the process of preserving evidence and filing a claim for your damages.

Signs of Dicamba Damage

Dicamba is a powerful herbicide that will destroy every non-resistant plant on which it is sprayed. Previously, it was only applied before and after the planting season to control weed growth. The chemical is highly volatile and tends to drift away from farms where it is applied to neighboring crops. An estimated 3.6 million acres of soybean crops have been affected by dicamba. 

Soybean crops are very sensitive to dicamba, and the symptoms depend on the severity of the exposure. Crop damage appears within days of herbicide contact, but some damage may take weeks to appear: The signs of dicamba damage include:

  • Wrinkling 
  • Abnormal leaf development (cupping or puckering)
  • Twisting 
  • Trumpeting
  • Leaf elongation
  • Discoloration 
  • Narrow growth or strapping

Where Has Dicamba Damage Occurred?

Dicamba has damaged crops in several states, but farmers in the following states have been the most affected:

  • Arkansas
  • Missouri
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • Kansas
  • Michigan
  • Tennessee
  • Iowa
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Indiana
  • Mississippi
  • Wisconsin
  • Illinois
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas 

The Case Against Dicamba

Dicamba has been widely used for years by home gardeners and landscape engineers, usually as a constituent of other herbicide formulations. Monsanto reintroduced the herbicide for three of its products:

  • Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybeans
  • Bollgard II XtendFlex Cotton
  • Bollgard 3 XtendFlex Cotton

As the company tested and developed genetically-modified cotton and soybean strains that were dicamba-resistant, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) raised objections to the company’s proposed use of dicamba and did not approve the use of the new formulations.

In 2017, three new dicamba formulations that were purportedly less harmful than the previous versions were approved:

  • XtendiMax (Monsanto)
  • Fexapan (BASF Corporation)
  • Fexapan (Dupont)

These formulations did not undergo independent testing. Farmers purchased and used them thinking they were safe, leading to the destruction of millions of acres of crops and the livelihoods of many farmers. 

Dicamba drifting was extensive and there are damage reports from farmers across over 20 US states. Missouri and Arkansas placed a statewide ban on dicamba, while other states have implemented varying degrees of restrictions on its use. 

Soybean and cotton are not the only affected crops. Millions of acres of other crops like rice, timber, tobacco, fruits, and tomatoes have been severely affected by dicamba drifting, with farmers experiencing a decline in crop annual yield (as high as 30% in some cases). 

To ensure Monsanto and the other manufacturers are held responsible for their actions, affected farmers have taken legal action against the companies to get compensation for crop damage and the resulting financial losses. 

The farmers accuse the manufacturers of selling the herbicides even when they were aware of the dangers; they also claim that the companies used their farms as involuntary testing grounds for a new product. 

If you have suffered crop losses from using any dicamba herbicides, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the manufacturers. Your attorney will review your case and advise you of the next course of action if you are eligible for a dicamba drift lawsuit. 

Did Monsanto Benefit From Dicamba Damage?

In recent dicamba drift lawsuits, plaintiffs allege that Monsanto profited from the damage to their crops. They claim that the company developed and marketed dicamba-resistant seeds, and used the “fear of potential damage” from drifting dicamba to drive sales, effectively creating a monopoly over the market.

The complaint also noted that while only 500,000 acres of Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant seeds were planted in 2015, the number rose to 25 million two years later. A 2019 NPR report indicated that Monsanto Xtend seeds accounted for up to 75% of all the soybeans cultivated in America. 

Another lawsuit alleges that Monsanto used the damage to crops as an involuntary testing ground for a new product, profiting from the destruction of non-resistant crops. 

They also argue that more damage increases the number of dicamba-tolerant crops, leaving farmers with little choice but to purchase the herbicide.  

Other allegations against Monsanto are that they marketed their dicamba-resistant seeds before their new herbicide formulations for resistant seeds became available. The new products would contain VaporGrip, an adjuvant that allowed the herbicide to cling onto plants, preventing it from getting airborne and drifting into unprotected farms. 

The manufacturers allegedly marketed dicamba as safe even when they were aware of its potential to drift away from the site of application. 

These lawsuits further allege that Monsanto was under pressure for about-to-expire patents on its Roundup-ready seeds — genetically modified seeds that are resistant to glyphosate-based herbicides. Monsanto is accused of rushing to put the new seeds on the market despite knowing that dicamba was an older weed killer with more toxic, uncontrollable effects. 

Who Can File a Dicamba Lawsuit?

Agricultural litigation lawyers are preparing class action suits seeking millions of dollars on behalf of farmers affected by the damage. 

In 2018, nine dicamba damage-related cases were transferred to a federal court in the Eastern District of Missouri to be litigated as a single case. The consolidated cases grew to 37 a year later. 

All dicamba-related lawsuits carry similar allegations. The defendants (Monsanto, BASF, and DuPont) are accused of developing, testing, and marketing dicamba-containing herbicides that drifted onto their fields and destroyed their crops.  

You can file a dicamba damage lawsuit if you are a commercial farmer and have suffered losses from dicamba drifting onto your field. 

Your lawsuit will also cover damages from weed killers marketed under the Engenia, XtendiMax, and Fexapan brand names. 

Taking Legal Action

Dicamba attorneys have been investigating complaints about dicamba-related crop damage and bringing suits against the company since 2017. In 2018, the Judicial Panel on multidistrict litigation (MDL) ordered all pending dicamba lawsuits to be centralized as one in the Eastern District of Missouri. 

Hundreds of claims from over 20 states have been filed against Monsanto, DuPont, and BASF for dicamba-related damage. 

The common thread in these lawsuits is that the companies manufactured, promoted, and marketed dicamba formulations, despite knowing their volatility and capacity to drift from application sites. 

These lawsuits also allege that the manufacturers acted recklessly and should compensate affected farmers appropriately. 

Plaintiffs are also accusing Monsanto of committing fraud by misrepresenting its products. They allege that the company profited from promoting its products dishonestly and irresponsibly. 

Extensive dicamba damage has put the livelihood of many farmers and their staff at risk. If you have been affected by dicamba, contact an agricultural lawsuit attorney for a case review.

Some Filed Dicamba Cases

Bader Farms, Inc. Vs. Monsanto Co.

Bader Farms is a 1000-acre peach-producing orchard and Missouri’s largest peach producer. Before 2016, the farm’s peach harvest stood at six million pounds annually, about 50% of the state’s output. 

The plaintiff claims that dicamba sprayed on neighboring farms in 2016 damaged 7,000 to 110,000 peach trees, causing revenue losses of $1.5 million for that year. 

Additionally, the plaintiff alleged that costs incurred in an attempt to save the damaged trees were about $200,000. 

The damage grew worse a year later, and by June 2016, it had spread across 700 acres of the peach orchard, damaging 20,000 trees. 

Here, the plaintiff claimed to have spent another $1 million to restore the orchard to its January 2016 state.

Bruce Farms Partnership et al. Vs. Monsanto Co. 

A group of six Arkansas-based farmers is filing claims of crop damage and resulting financial losses above $5 million against Monsanto and BASF. 

It claims that the companies were aware that damage to non-resistant crops was inevitable. Plaintiffs also argue that dicamba cannot be applied anytime during a planting season. 

Warren Farms Vs. Monsanto Co. et al

Illinois-based Warren Farms is suing Monsanto, DuPont, and BASF for crop losses due to dicamba drifting. 

The farm owner and plaintiff Brian Warren claims he first observed dicamba-related damage on his farm in 2017. He says the damage spread across hundreds of acres of his crops and is seeking financial restitution for his losses. 

Warren wants an injunction preventing the companies from marketing dicamba-based herbicides and their dicamba-resistant Xtend seeds. The lawsuit is also seeking punitive damages against the defendants for marketing their dicamba products and other unlawful practices. 

National Family Farm Coalition et al. Vs. Environmental Protection Agency

A coalition of four public interest organizations — the National Family Farm Coalition, Pesticide Action Network, Center for Biological Diversity, and the Center for Food Safety — filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) challenging its registration of Monsanto’s Dicamba based-XtendiMax pesticide. 

The plaintiffs claimed that the EPA violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by registering the herbicide as a conditional use pesticide without meeting the necessary requirements. 

They also alleged that the EPA violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by using a wrong standard to conclude that approving XtendiMax for use would have no effect on endangered species.

In June 2020, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated the registration of XtendiMax and also blocked sales of other dicamba-based weed killers like Engenia and FeXapan.

Notable Dicamba Verdict

In February 2020, a Missouri jury awarded $15 million in compensatory damages and $250 million against Monsanto and BASF to Bader Farms — a southeastern Missouri-based peach grower. 

The plaintiff alleged that Monsanto representatives conspired with farmers who purchased Dicamba-resistant seeds to spray old dicamba on dicamba-resistant seeds.

A federal judge slashed the punitive damages awarded against Monsanto to $60 million. This case was the first multidistrict trial involving farmers in the US and dicamba manufacturers.

Dicamba Settlement Agreement

In 2020, Bayer, the new owners of Monsanto agreed to spend $12 billion to resolve thousands of lawsuits pending lawsuits and also to resolve future claims relating to dicamba damage. Bayer is trying to settle lawsuits involving its herbicides, including pending multidistrict litigation in the Eastern District of Missouri over dicamba injury claims. 

Soybean farmers who can present documents showing yield loss from dicamba damage are entitled to compensation per the agreement. The company reached agreements on about 95,000 claims involving the herbicide and made up to $400,000 available to farmers to settle who suffered crop losses arising from dicamba damage. 

Eligibility for Dicamba Settlement

Thousands of farmers across the US were adversely affected by dicamba damage. Lawyers continue to review cases to take legal action and help their clients receive settlements. 

To be eligible for a dicamba settlement, you need documentary evidence showing that you have suffered losses from dicamba damage. 

Notable proof variations include weedkillers sold under the XtendiMax, Engenia, and Fexapan brands. 

A skilled agricultural case attorney will research your case and build a premise for legal action that can help you recoup your losses. Typically, this legal practitioner is bound to take up your case for free and will only get paid after you receive your settlement amount. 

See If You Can File

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