Current Cases

In re Crop Protection Products Loyalty Program Antitrust Litigation

Status Current Case

Practice area Antitrust

Court U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina

Case number 1:22-CV-01128


On June 4, 2023, the Honorable Thomas D. Schroeder for the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina appointed Cohen Milstein Interim Co-Lead Class Counsel in this antirust multidistrict litigation against Syngenta Crop Protection and Corteva, Inc., two of the world’s largest pesticide manufactures. Plaintiffs allege these Defendants have illegally blocked competition through exclusive distributor “loyalty agreements,” thereby forcing farmers to pay supracompetitive prices while restricting their ability to benefit from new, innovative products.

Plaintiffs and members of the proposed Class are farmers based in more than 25 states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, as well as the District of Columbia.

Case Background

Originally filed on December 26, 2022, this case involves an alleged anticompetitive scheme by two manufacturing giants in the crop protection product industry to use exclusive “loyalty agreements” with leading distributors to lock rival manufacturers out of the market and force farmers like Plaintiffs to pay artificially inflated prices for essential crop protection products.

Specifically, Plaintiffs allege that under these “loyalty agreements,” Defendants pay substantial sums of money to distributors—the middlemen who purchase directly from manufacturers before the product is sold to farmers—to discourage those distributors from purchasing specified active ingredients from their rivals, namely generic manufacturers of pesticide and crop protection ingredients. These exclusionary payments, which take the form of rebates, are conditioned on the distributors making a high percentage of their purchases of the specified active ingredient from the Defendant producing that product.

Plaintiffs claim that Defendants also ensure compliance with the loyalty thresholds by threatening to punish, and actually punishing, distributors that fail to purchase sufficient volumes of Defendants’ products. The punishments include canceling contracts and limiting supply of needed products.

Plaintiffs also claim that without access to the major distributors, generic manufacturers have no viable path to compete with the Defendants in the market for crop protection products containing active ingredients covered by the loyalty provisions.

The consequences of this market foreclosure are severe. Defendants’ anticompetitive conduct has forced Plaintiffs and other farmers to pay surplus millions of dollars in supracompetitive prices – approximately 20% higher prices, if not more – while at the same time restricting their ability to benefit from new and innovative products.