Sygneta claims are being paid. The claims administrator mailed the first round of checks on April 7th.
1) This is not the full payout. These checks are expected to be about 60-65% of the final payout. Funds have been set aside for pending claims appeals, attorney’s fees, and administration costs. Once all work is completed and all appeals final, the remaining funds in those accounts will be disbursed, pro-rata, to the clients. We have no idea what that amount will be.
2) Whether or not the operator planted Syngenta seed DOES impact the payout. Operators will receive significantly less than the neighbor if they checked “yes” in that box because those planted Syngenta seeds, will get less money. They signed a stewardship agreement that waived rights to recover.
3) The total paid out has NOTHING to do with which law firm you used. No law firm has access to the data. The court let the lawyers take it to trial and push the issue maximize the recovery and then removed the lawyers from the total paid out. That action is still under appeal but will not impact payment to the clients. Only the claims administrator and the Court are involved in the calculation of payouts. Lawyers do not know the exact numbers used to calculate payments. Only the claims administration firm has access to final totals. There is no final per bushel pay-out amount until there are final checks. (We do know that they used a $0.12/bushel baseline for this check.) This is a preliminary estimate and is not a final number. It also does not mean anyone actually received 12 cents for any bushel of production. Each compensable year has a percentage recovery rate so it’s not a straight percentage of production. The maximum possible recovery under a 12 cent/bushel calculation is less than 4 cents/bushel since the maximum percentage annual basis is 33% for 2014.) Attorneys have no way of keeping the claims administrator accountable and can only take them at their word. The attorneys don’t have access to the data.
4) Regardless of what happens with the appeals, clients will NOT be required to pay any of the money received to attorneys. Attorney’s fees are being handled by the court. Clients will NOT under ANY circumstances, be required to compensate us from the money they just received. If you hear of any lawyer or firm requesting clients to compensate them directly, please let me know. That would be in direct violation of the court’s order. The attorneys will not be receiving a contingency based fee. Instead, the court will determine what we get paid. As of now, approximately 30% of the original settlement is in a trust fund pending the outcome of the appeals. The attorneys will be paid from that fund, not the client fund.
5) If an operator down the way, who farms less than you do, claims to have received more money than you, that operator is most likely either not letting truth get in the way of a good story or there is some distinction between your claims (ag, fed-on-farm, Syngenta seed)
6) However, the administrators have made mistakes and typos in the past. If you believe your numbers are wrong based on the claims of other farmers, and you can get a copy of the other party’s determination letter, the attorneys can review the numbers and attempt to determine why there is a discrepancy. The farm operator or the attorney can ask the administrators to confirm the number.
7) If an operator received a determination letter that stated they had “0” bushels compensable and ignored it because they didn’t think the suit would ever get any real money, they will not get a check.
8) If the operator did not send in a signed W-9, or log-in to the portal and fill out the W-9 form, you will not get a check.
9) If you have not received a check yet, that does not mean you will not get one. If you received a determination letter with compensable production listed, you will receive a check. The claims administrator is printing checks in a rolling fashion. They will not reveal the basis for that or when to expect checks for certain categories of claimant.
10) If the operator did not submit the required claim notification paperwork within the oft-extended deadlines, they will not get a check. Ever. For those who quit responding to calls and letters or believed that they were signed up by virtue of being a farm operator without further action it is too late.