A landmark GM contamination now unfolding in the supreme court of Western Australia has for now swung in favour of an organic farmer facing a huge legal bill, while his adversary must reveal if he was backed by Monsanto or an industry group.
Steve Marsh’s bid last year to sue Kojonup neighbour and former childhood friend Michael Baxter for allegedly ‘contaminating’ his organic farm after cross pollination between the two farms occurred was unsuccessful.
Marsh had sought $85,000 in damages, claiming he lost organic certification for more than half his farm because Baxter’s genetically modified canola had blown onto his land. Instead, Marsh was ordered by the court to pay costs of about $804,000 after the court ruled in favor
But the judges ordered Baxter to provide information about his trial costs, specifically any financial arrangements between him and Monsanto and the Pastoralists and Graziers Association.
That was because Baxter might enjoy a windfall from the award of costs if Monsanto or the PGA had helped pay his legal bills for the trial.
Under the indemnity principle, Marsh should have to pay Baxter only costs that came out of his own pocket.
Asked whether Monsanto had provided financial support, Bradley said: “I can’t tell you that because that’s confidential, but all will be disclosed in the document filed with the court.”
Baxter said he was not disappointed with the decision. “We’re feeling great. We don’t have any problems,” he said. “We respect the decision of the court and we’d only be disappointed if we thought it was wrong.
Read full, original article: GM crop farmer told to reveal if he was backed by Monsanto in legal battle