Bayer CropScience LP v. SchaferAnnotate this Case
Bayer CropScience LP developed LibertyLink Rice (LLRice), a genetically engineered rice, which Bayer subsequently used in outdoor field tests. The USDA later found that trace amounts of LLRice in the U.S. long-grain rice supply. Due to the contamination, several countries slowed or banned the import of all American rice. Appellees, several rice farmers and farming entities, sued Bayer, claiming (1) Bayer was negligent in allowing the accidental release of LLRice into the nation's rice supply by not taking adequate precautions during field trials to prevent cross-pollination or the commingling of genetically modified rice seed with conventional seed; and (2) Bayer's negligence caused economic harm by driving down the market price for American long-grain rice. The circuit court awarded $5,975,605 in compensatory damages and $42,000,0000 in punitive damages to Appellees. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in (1) ruling that Ark. Code Ann. 16-55-208, which establishes limits on awards of punitive damages, is unconstitutional; (2) concluding that Appellees' claims were not barred by the economic-loss doctrine; (3) allowing certain expert testimony; and (4) rejecting Bayer's legal argument advanced in its motion for a directed verdict.