Monsanto facing another Schmeiser suit

HUMBOLDT, SASK., Oct. 20, 2004 -- CropChoice news -- CBC News, 10/19/04: Chemical giant Monsanto is facing a second legal rendez-vous with a Saskatchewan farm family that took a battle over genetically modified canola to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Louise Schmeiser has filed papers with a small claims court in Humboldt, Sask., seeking $140 in damages from Monsanto.

Schmeiser says that is what it cost her to remove a number of Monsanto's Roundup Ready Canola plants from her organic garden and a grove of trees on the family's property.

That's the same kind of canola that landed Louise's husband Percy in a seven-year legal fight against Monsanto.

Seven years ago, the company accused him of growing its genetically-modified canola without a licence. Schmeiser admitted all along that Monsanto's canola was growing on his land, but argued that it had blown there from neighboring fields or passing seed trucks.

Monsanto finally won the case in May, as the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that it can control the use of its canola plant because it holds a patent on a gene in its seed that allows it to survive the spraying of the pesticide Roundup.

Percy Schmeiser is acting as his wife's legal counsel in the latest court action.

"Monsanto said that if anyone sprays Roundup on any plant and it doesn't die ... they will come and remove it," he said this week. "They failed to do it."

The case has been adjourned until next March.

"The Supreme Court ruled Monsanto owns and controls the gene, so the liability issue now follows the flow of the gene," says Schmeiser. "Monsanto is totally liable for contamination and pollution of anybody's field now."

Monsanto representatives refused to comment on the case.


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