STATE OF NEW YORK
2013-2014 Regular Sessions
April 4, 2013
Introduced by M. of A. ORTIZ, COOK -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A.
HOOPER, ROBINSON -- read once and referred to the Committee on Agri-
AN ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to liabil-
ity for crop contamination by genetically engineered material
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. The agriculture and markets law is amended by adding a new
2 article 9-B to read as follows:
3 ARTICLE 9-B
4 LIABILITY FOR CROP
5 CONTAMINATION BY
6 GENETICALLY ENGINEERED MATERIAL
7 Section 142-aaa. Liability for crop contamination by genetically engi-
8 neered material.
9 142-bbb. Seed contracts.
10 § 142-aaa. Liability for crop contamination by genetically engineered
11 material. 1. For purposes of this article:
12 (a) "Genetically engineered" means altered by human manipulation at
13 the molecular or cellular level by processes, including recombinant DNA
14 and RNA techniques, cell fusion, microencapsulation, macroencapsulation,
15 gene deletion and doubling, introduction of foreign genes, and gene
16 repositioning, which are not possible under natural conditions. "Genet-
17 ically engineered" does not include products altered exclusively by
18 breeding, conjugation, fermentation, hybridization, in vitro fertiliza-
19 tion, or tissue culture.
20 (b) "Cross-contamination" means any transfer and incorporation of
21 genetic material from a genetically engineered crop or plant, by cross-
22 pollination or other means, into a non-genetically engineered crop or
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
A. 6509 2
1 plant or to wild plant populations or the presence of genetically engi-
2 neered seeds in a lot or package of non-genetically engineered seeds.
3 (c) "Manufacturer" means a person, firm, or corporation who produces,
4 distributes, and sells genetically engineered plants, planting stock, or
6 2. A manufacturer of genetically engineered plants, planting stock, or
7 seeds shall be liable to any person for any damages, including reason-
8 able attorney's fees and other litigation costs, and to the state for
9 natural resources damages and costs of restoration, due to cross-conta-
10 mination caused by the manufacturer's products. Such liability to farm-
11 ers shall include but not be limited to:
12 (a) loss of any price premium which would have accrued to a farmer
13 growing non-genetically engineered products by contract or other market-
14 ing arrangement, or which would have been otherwise reasonably available
15 to the farmer through ordinary commercial channels;
16 (b) any judgment, charge, or penalty for which the farmer growing
17 non-genetically engineered products is liable due to breach of contract,
18 including loss of organic certification, for failure to deliver a crop
19 free of genetically engineered material or for delivering a crop exceed-
20 ing any contractually agreed tolerances for the presence of genetically
21 engineered material;
22 (c) any additional transportation, storage, handling, or related
23 charges or costs incurred by the farmer that would not have been
24 incurred in the absence of cross-contamination;
25 (d) market price reductions incurred by farmers resulting from loss of
26 crop exports, including foreign and domestic markets; and
27 (e) a farmer's loss of livelihood or reputation caused by cross-conta-
29 A farmer who is not in breach of a contract for the purchase or use of
30 genetically engineered plants, planting stock, or seeds and unknowingly
31 comes into possession or uses such plants, planting stock, or seeds as a
32 result of natural reproduction, cross-contamination, or other means
33 shall not be liable under this subdivision for any damages caused by the
34 use of such plants, planting stock, or seeds, including damages for
35 patent infringement.
36 A manufacturer shall have an affirmative defense to liability under
37 this subdivision if: a farmer or other third party acted in gross negli-
38 gence to cause the release of the genetically engineered material that
39 resulted in cross-contamination; the farmer had received and signed a
40 contract with the manufacturer; the farmer had received written materi-
41 als from the manufacturer explaining how to plant and cultivate the
42 genetically engineered plants; and by following the manufacturer's
43 contract and instructions the farmer would not have caused damages
44 through the use of such plants, planting stock or seeds; or a seed sell-
45 er or distributor, other than the manufacturer, acted in gross negli-
46 gence to cause the presence of the manufacturer's genetically engineered
47 seeds in a lot or package of seeds that were sold to a farmer as non-
48 genetically engineered seeds.
49 The provisions of this subdivision shall not limit the liability of a
50 manufacturer under any cause of action not based upon this subdivision.
51 The provisions of this subdivision shall not be subject to waiver, by
52 agreement, or otherwise.
53 § 142-bbb. Seed contracts. A seed contract for the purchase of seeds
54 or planting stock in New York must be governed by the laws of New York.
55 If such a contract executed in New York purports to waive the provisions
56 of this section, to choose the laws of another jurisdiction to govern
A. 6509 3
1 the contract or to choose a forum for adjudication of disputes arising
2 out of the contract that would not otherwise have jurisdiction over the
3 parties to the contract, such provisions are void and unenforceable.
4 § 2. Severability. If any clause, sentence, subdivision, paragraph,
5 section or part of this act is adjudged by any court of competent juris-
6 diction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invali-
7 date the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to
8 the clause, sentence, subdivision, paragraph, section or part thereof
9 directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have
10 been rendered.
11 § 3. This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after
12 it shall have become a law.