Federal Judge Delivers Sharp Setback to Makers of High Fructose Corn Syrup

Federal Judge Delivers Sharp Setback to Makers of High Fructose Corn Syrup

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 5, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- U.S. District Court Judge
Consuelo B. Marshall today denied a request by the agribusiness giants
Archer-Daniels-Midland, Cargill and other manufacturers of high fructose corn
syrup (HFCS), to pursue claims against various farmers' cooperatives and other
sugar producers.

The underlying lawsuit, Western Sugar Cooperative v. Archer-Daniels-Midland,
Co., was filed in Los Angeles in April 2011 by a group of sugar farmers to
stop the corn processors' advertising HFCS as equivalent to the common table
sugar extracted from sugar cane and sugar beets. In a national television and
print marketing campaign, the corn processors and their trade group, the Corn
Refiners Association (CRA), had communicated to industrial customers and
consumers that HFCS is "nutritionally the same as table sugar," "natural" and
really just "corn sugar," claiming that because "sugar is sugar" "your body
can't tell the difference." In a related proceeding, the FDA rejected efforts
by the CRA to allow the name "corn sugar" as an alternative to HFCS on
ingredient labels.

In September 2012, the corn processors filed a counterclaim accusing The Sugar
Association, one of the plaintiffs, of having published editorial statements
and third-party commentaries distinguishing HFCS from sugar based on
scientific research.Then, on May 23, 2014, the corn processors sought to
amend that counterclaim by suing all of the plaintiffs for these activities
and seeking punitive damages under Illinois law.

In an 11 page written order, Judge Marshall explained that although the corn
processors had enjoyed 18 months of discovery and depositions, they "unduly
delayed" seeking to make the amendments. Judge Marshall also ruled that
allowing the amendments "would prejudice Plaintiffs by imposing higher
litigation costs on them and further delaying trial."She concluded her
opinion by summarizing that the motion would be denied "because Defendants
unduly delayed in seeking leave to amend and Plaintiffs would be prejudiced
were the Court to grant Defendants' eleventh hour request."

Adam Fox, a partner of Squire Patton Boggs, and co-lead counsel for the sugar
farmers and other plaintiffs welcomed the ruling. "It was the right result,
and now paves the way for us to prepare for trial without further delays or

Judge Marshall had ruled on an earlier motion that the plaintiff sugar farmers
had presented evidence demonstrating "a reasonable probability of success on
their argument that the statements (made by the corn processors) are false."

Federal Court Case number CV 11-3473 CBM (AJW).A copy of the ruling can be
found here.

CONTACT: Adam Fox, Squire Patton Boggs (213) 689-5166
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