Environmental Litigation

Louisiana Crawfish Farmers ICON Insecticide Damage

Result: $45 million settlement
Year: 2004

Crayfish

West v. G&H Seed Company, et al.

Lieff Cabraser represented a certified class of 1,500 Louisiana crawfish farmers who charged in a lawsuit charging that the pesticide Fipronil, an insecticide sold under the trade name ICON, damaged their pond-grown crawfish crops. In Louisiana, rice and crawfish are often farmed together, either in the same pond or in close proximity to one another.

After its introduction to the market in 1999, ICON was used extensively in Louisiana to kill water weevils that attacked rice plants. The lawsuit charged that ICON also had a devastating effect on crawfish harvests with some farmers losing their entire crawfish crop.

In 2004, the Court approved a $45 million settlement with Bayer CropScience, which during the litigation purchased Aventis CropScience, the original manufacturer of ICON. The settlement was reached after the parties had presented nearly a month’s worth of evidence at trial and were on the verge of making closing arguments to the jury.