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Appeals court upholds judgment against BASF

(Wednesday, March 12, 2003 -- CropChoice news) --

Benno Groeneveld, bizjournals.com: The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday approved a jury verdict against herbicide maker BASF Corp.

The court let stand a jury decision to award $53 million to farmers in a class-action suit against BASF, a chemical manufacturer based in Germany with U.S. headquarters in Mount Olive, N.J.

Farmers had complained that BASF sold Poast herbicide and Poast Plus at different prices when the two products were basically the same. The complaints focused on products sold between 1992 and 1996.

A jury decided in December 2001 that BASF had been wrong in charging different prices and awarded $53 million to 11 farmers from Minnesota, Montana and North Dakota. The farmers represented a class of complainants, and the actual payment by BASF may be much higher if the company has to pay all farmers who used its products.

BASF appealed the jury verdict to the Appeals Court. Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch and the American Sugarbeet Growers Association filed "friends of the court" briefs supporting the farmers; organizations including the American Chemistry Council and the National Association of Manufacturers supported BASF.

The chemical company said it believes trhat the jury verdict was incorrect and it plans to appeal the decision to the Minnesota and, if necessary, to the U.S. Supreme Courts.

See earlier related CropChoice commentary: BASF defrauds farmers with market segmentation; http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=1126