Two widows of Indian farm workers et al v. Syngenta

No description
September 18, 2020
Not judged
Switzerland, Basel

Farm/rural workers
Two widows of Indian farm workers and an Indian farm worker
Syngenta
Law firm Schadensanwälte

Civil court
Insecticide, Diafenthiuron, Polo
Compensation from Syngenta for the harm suffered
Civil Court of Basel, Switzerland
Court

Two widows of Indian farm workers blame Syngenta for the death of their husbands, as well as an Indian farmer for his illness, after the insecticide Polo was sprayed on their fields in the region of Yavatmal. This is the first product liability lawsuit of this kind. They claim that Syngenta has used a product which is defective under the Swiss Product Liability Act, in particular because Syngenta knew that agricultural workers in India usually do not read the instructions on the package and therefore could not use the pesticide correctly. In these cases, it was possible to file a claim in Switzerland since the pesticide or the relevant ingredient, respectively, was distributed from Switzerland by a Swiss company. In October 2020, Switzerland decided to prohibit the export of five highly hazardous pesticides including diafenthiuron (active ingredient of Polo). On July 28, 2022, the Swiss Civil Court in Basel handling three civil actions by one Indian farmer and two wives of deceased Indian farmers has ruled that the court has jurisdiction in the case and granted legal aid to all three plaintiffs to pursue their case in Switzerland against agrochemical company Syngenta. It also ruled to treat the three cases separately and not to join them as different evidentiary questions might arise in each claim.