How do I stay informed of what is going on with my GMO corn lawsuit against Syngenta?

  • Rule 1.03 of The Lawyer Rules requires a lawyer to keep his or her client reasonably informed about the status of the matter
  • To meet this rule, we send each of our clients a welcome packet in order to introduce them to specific firm employees who will be working with them to collect needed documents, to detail the specific documents we will need to prove corn bushel productivity in crop years 2011-2014, and to provide our clients with a copy of the petition we have filed on their behalf
  • Moreover, we send a quarterly status communication to each of our GMO corn clients, detailing the progress of the litigation over the preceding ninety (90) days. We prefer to email this communication to our clients, because email is less costly and allows us to provide links to documents, thereby giving the client an opportunity to receive a more detailed picture of the progress of the case against Syngenta
  • Finally, our firm and our joint venture partners maintain this website to provide our clients, and potential clients, with the detailed information needed to stay informed about the GMO corn lawsuit against Syngenta.

Rule 1.03 of the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Conduct involves “Communication,” and requires that “[a] lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information,” and that “[a] lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.” Comment 1 to this rule provides in detail, “The client should have sufficient information to participate intelligently in decisions concerning the objectives of the representation and the means by which they are to be pursued, to the extent the client is willing and able to do so. For example, a lawyer negotiating on behalf of a client should provide the client with facts relevant to the matter, inform the client of communications from another party and take other reasonable steps to permit the client to make a decision regarding a serious offer from another party. A lawyer who receives from opposing counsel either an offer of settlement in a civil controversy or a proffered plea bargain in a criminal case should promptly inform the client of its substance unless prior discussions with the client have left it clear that the proposal will be unacceptable. See Comment 2 to Rule 1.02.” Comment 2 to this rule provides in detail, “Adequacy of communication depends in part on the kind of advice or assistance involved. For example, in negotiations where there is time to explain a proposal the lawyer should review all important provisions with the client before proceeding to an agreement. In litigation a lawyer should explain the general strategy and prospects of success and ordinarily should consult the client on tactics that might injure or coerce others. On the other hand, a lawyer ordinarily cannot be expected to describe trial or negotiation strategy in detail. Moreover, in certain situations practical exigency may require a lawyer to act for a client without prior consultation. The guiding principle is that the lawyer should reasonably fulfill client expectations for information consistent with the duty to act in the client’s best interests, and the clients overall requirements as to the character of representation.”

In order to meet this rule, our firm sends a “Welcome Packet” to each new client, for three reasons. First, we want to say “welcome” and introduce the client to the specific individuals within our firm who are charged with the responsibility of communicating with them concerning the steps needed to prove their case. Second, we will enclose a copy of the lawsuit we have filed, so that the client has the peace of mind of knowing their lawsuit has been timely filed. Third, we will detail for the client the specific documentary evidence we will need them to preserve and collect. Specifically, we are obtaining from each farmer the crop insurance application forms, the grain elevator year-end summary reports, and the FSA Forms 578, for crop years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Thereafter, we also send a Quarterly Status Communication to each of our GMO Corn clients, detailing the progress of the litigation over the preceding ninety (90) days. We prefer to email this communication to our clients, because email is less costly and allows us to provide links to documents, thereby giving the client an opportunity to receive a more detailed picture of the progress of the case against Syngenta.
Finally, our firm and our joint venture partners maintain this website, designed for our clients to have access to information. As we prepare the quarterly reports, we will load documents on to these website, and provide links to them in our status letters. This way, clients who wish to receive only summary reports can read only the letters, whereas clients who want access to detailed information can obtain in by accessing our firm websites related to the GMO Corn suits.

Written by*:
Mikal C. Watts
WATTS GUERRA, LLP
Four Dominion Drive, Bldg. Three, Suite 100
San Antonio, Texas 78257
* This information is provided to supply relevant information concerning the GMO corn lawsuit, and should not be received as legal advice. Legal advice is only given to persons or entities with whom Watts Guerra LLP has established an attorney-client relationship. If you have another lawyer in the GMO Corn lawsuit, you should consult with your own attorney, and rely upon his or her advice, rather than the information contained herein.

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