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Bayer and Syngenta: Neonicotinoids (Honey Bees and Beekeepers Class Action)

In 2014, Siskinds LLP and Siskinds Desmeules began class actions in Ontario and Quebec against Bayer and Syngenta (the "Defendants"), who are involved in the development, production, marketing and selling of neonicotinoid pesticides. Neonicotinoids are commonly used in agriculture in Quebec to eliminate certain pests and protect crops.

The facts in support of the class actions are that the neonicotinoids developed, produced, marketed and sold by the defendants cause damages to honey bees, including reproductive and behavioral problems, the reduction of honey production and death, leading to financial losses for beekeepers.

The actions are brought on behalf of beekeepers, including those individuals and companies that were in the business of honey production, queen bee rearing and/or pollination services for the period between January 1st, 2006 and February 20, 2018. The actions seek in excess of $400 million in damages. On February 20, 2018, the Superior Court of Quebec authorized the Quebec action to move forward to trial as a class proceeding.

Developments

Judgment Rendered Authorizing the Quebec Class Action

Authorization is an essential step in class actions, it is the stage where the court determines in a preliminary manner whether or not the proposed action is serious and should proceed to trial.

Notwithstanding the defendants' arguments against the authorization, the Judge concludes that the plaintiff's claims are sufficiently serious and precise to justify the bringing of the class action against the defendants.

The action was authorized on behalf of beekeepers in Quebec between January 1, 2006 and February 20, 2018. The court authorized common issues relating to the alleged wrongdoing of the Defendants in the manufacturing and sale of neonicotinoids.

The class action is now moving towards a hearing on the merits. As part of the hearing of the merits, the court will be asked to determine the common issues.

Notice of Authorization

Short Form Notice: [English] [French]

Long Form Notice: [English] [French]

Select News

On November 5, 2014, Siskinds LLP responded to a story which appeared in the Financial Post on October 28, 2014 titled "Beekeepers blaming pesticides for bee losses could face bigger losses in court". Siskinds’ response to the article can be found here.

FAQs

What is a class action?

A class action is a lawsuit that is brought by one or more persons on behalf of a larger group of people whose claims share common legal and/or factual issues. Class actions provide a cost-effective way for groups of people with common interests to pursue a legal claim.

What does “certification” (known as "authorization" in Quebec) mean?

Certification is the motion where the court determines whether the action can properly be pursued as a class action. The court will consider factors such as whether the claims of the class members raise common legal and/or factual issues and whether a class action is the preferable method of pursuing the claims (as opposed to other methods, such as individual actions).

Do I have to pay anything to participate in the class action?

Class action lawyers are usually paid on a contingency basis. This means that class counsel are only paid if successful. Class counsel are paid a percentage of any settlement or court award. Class counsel fees are subject to court approval.

Can I join the class action?

There are no steps required to “join” the class action. Assuming you fall within the scope of the class definition, you are automatically included in the class action unless you “opt-out” (exclude yourself from the class action).

Can I exclude myself from the class action?

Yes. After the class action is certified, you will be given an opportunity to opt-out (exclude yourself from the class action). If you opt-out, you will not be able to participate in any settlement or court award achieved in the class action, but you will be able to pursue your claim on an individual basis. Generally speaking, you would only want to opt-out of a class action if you intend to bring individual litigation. In most circumstances, it is more cost effective to participate in a class action because the legal costs are spread over a large number of people, making it more economic for any individual class member to obtain relief.

What should I do to protect my rights?

Beekeepers who are or may be included in this litigation should take care to preserve all of their relevant records, particularly those that show their losses/damage. Such records may include: pesticide presence/honey bee mortality test results; beehive losses/replacement records; receipts showing expenses incurred to replace lost honey bees/contaminated beekeeping equipment; and any other relevant financial, laboratory, or photographic records.

Beekeepers, including those individuals and companies in the business of honey production, queen bee rearing and/or pollination services between 2006 and the present season are encouraged to contact Class counsel, Samy Elnemr of Siskinds, Desmeules, Avocats. Me. Elnemr may be reached at 418-694-2009 or by email at recours@siskindsdesmeules.com.

Who is affected by the neonicotinoids class action?

You may be affected by the class action and are a “member” of the class if you or your company was in the business of honey production, queen bee rearing and/or pollination services between January 1st, 2006 and February 20, 2018.

 I still have a question. Who should I contact?

Please contact Karim Diallo of Siskinds, Desmeules, Avocats. Me. Diallo may be reached at 418-694-2009 or by email at recours@siskindsdesmeules.com.

Judgment Rendered Authorizing the Quebec Class Action

Authorization is an essential step in class actions, it is the stage where the court determines in a preliminary manner whether or not the proposed action is serious and should proceed to trial.

Notwithstanding the defendants' arguments against the authorization, the Judge concludes that the plaintiff's claims are sufficiently serious and precise to justify the bringing of the class action against the defendants.

The action was authorized on behalf of beekeepers in Quebec between January 1, 2006 and February 20, 2018. The court authorized common issues relating to the alleged wrongdoing of the Defendants in the manufacturing and sale of neonicotinoids.

The class action is now moving towards a hearing on the merits. As part of the hearing of the merits, the court will be asked to determine the common issues.

Notice of Authorization

Short Form Notice: [English] [French]

Long Form Notice: [English] [French]

Select News

On November 5, 2014, Siskinds LLP responded to a story which appeared in the Financial Post on October 28, 2014 titled "Beekeepers blaming pesticides for bee losses could face bigger losses in court". Siskinds’ response to the article can be found here.

What is a class action?

A class action is a lawsuit that is brought by one or more persons on behalf of a larger group of people whose claims share common legal and/or factual issues. Class actions provide a cost-effective way for groups of people with common interests to pursue a legal claim.

What does “certification” (known as "authorization" in Quebec) mean?

Certification is the motion where the court determines whether the action can properly be pursued as a class action. The court will consider factors such as whether the claims of the class members raise common legal and/or factual issues and whether a class action is the preferable method of pursuing the claims (as opposed to other methods, such as individual actions).

Do I have to pay anything to participate in the class action?

Class action lawyers are usually paid on a contingency basis. This means that class counsel are only paid if successful. Class counsel are paid a percentage of any settlement or court award. Class counsel fees are subject to court approval.

Can I join the class action?

There are no steps required to “join” the class action. Assuming you fall within the scope of the class definition, you are automatically included in the class action unless you “opt-out” (exclude yourself from the class action).

Can I exclude myself from the class action?

Yes. After the class action is certified, you will be given an opportunity to opt-out (exclude yourself from the class action). If you opt-out, you will not be able to participate in any settlement or court award achieved in the class action, but you will be able to pursue your claim on an individual basis. Generally speaking, you would only want to opt-out of a class action if you intend to bring individual litigation. In most circumstances, it is more cost effective to participate in a class action because the legal costs are spread over a large number of people, making it more economic for any individual class member to obtain relief.

What should I do to protect my rights?

Beekeepers who are or may be included in this litigation should take care to preserve all of their relevant records, particularly those that show their losses/damage. Such records may include: pesticide presence/honey bee mortality test results; beehive losses/replacement records; receipts showing expenses incurred to replace lost honey bees/contaminated beekeeping equipment; and any other relevant financial, laboratory, or photographic records.

Beekeepers, including those individuals and companies in the business of honey production, queen bee rearing and/or pollination services between 2006 and the present season are encouraged to contact Class counsel, Samy Elnemr of Siskinds, Desmeules, Avocats. Me. Elnemr may be reached at 418-694-2009 or by email at recours@siskindsdesmeules.com.

Who is affected by the neonicotinoids class action?

You may be affected by the class action and are a “member” of the class if you or your company was in the business of honey production, queen bee rearing and/or pollination services between January 1st, 2006 and February 20, 2018.

 I still have a question. Who should I contact?

Please contact Karim Diallo of Siskinds, Desmeules, Avocats. Me. Diallo may be reached at 418-694-2009 or by email at recours@siskindsdesmeules.com.

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