When Will the Syngenta Settlement Payments Issue?

April 25, 2019 | Kristine A. Tidgren

It’s a fair question. The $1.5 billion Syngenta settlement was approved December 7, 2018, and the settlement agreement specified that payments could issue as early as the second quarter of 2019. Now that we are in that second quarter, do we know when the payments will issue?

The answer, unfortunately, is no.

The December 7, 2018, settlement approval order specified that one-third of the settlement fund or $503,333,333, would be set aside for attorney fees. A December 31, 2018, order determined that attorney fees would be paid to attorneys who had filed fee applications in the following manner:

12 percent paid to pool for individually retained private attorneys (IRPAs)

49 percent paid to pool for Kansas MDL counsel

23.5 percent paid to pool for Minnesota state court counsel

15.5 percent paid to pool for Illinois federal court counsel

The IRPAs would receive their payments pro-rata based upon the ultimate recoveries of their claimant clients. The order prevents these IRPAs from collecting under their negotiated contingent fee agreements or collecting any fees from their clients’ settlement payments. These attorneys established relationships with clients; however, their clients were ultimately brought into the class. As such, they will receive payments in the same manner as other claimants.  

Several large attorney groups classified as IRPAs have filed notices of appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. They allege that Judge Lungstrum did not have the authority to disregard their contingent fee agreements. Notices of Appeal to the final settlement have also been filed by several class members challenging the fairness of the settlement. It is unclear at this point how these filings will ultimately impact the timing of the distribution of the claims payments. For now, producers must simply remain patient.