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If you care about mass tort litigation, there’s a very interesting experiment under way right now in St. Louis. Federal district court Judge Catherine Perry is overseeing some 3,000 suits in which rice farmers allege that Bayer CropScience was careless in its handling of an experimental, genetically modified strain of long-grain rice, permitting the non-approved strain to contaminate the U.S. long-grain rice crop. Last August the judge overseeing the multidistrict litigation refused to certify it as a class action, which meant that the lead plaintiffs counsel — Adam Levitt of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz and Don Downing of Gray Ritter & Graham — faced the prospect of thousands of individual trials.

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