Memphis-based Farming Organization Fails to Settle Lawsuit in Mediation
The Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association (BFAA) allowed a mediation deadline to pass without resolving their ongoing dispute with the Stine Seed Company. The Memphis-based organization accused the company of racism in a lawsuit filed in 2018. The two sides filed a “no settlement” mediation report in court recently and are now in “wait and see” mode.
BFAA’s lawsuit alleged the company systematically engaged in discrimination when it sold black farmers fake soybean seeds on several occasions. Stine denies the accusations of discrimination. The organization accused the company of deliberately selling farmers low-yielding soybean seeds as part of a conspiracy together with Stine’s sales representatives and others named as part of those transactions.
The judge overseeing the case ordered both sides to attempt mediation. In the beginning of April, the attorney for the Stine Seed Company filed a report telling the court that no mediation had occurred and the two sides were still far from a resolution. Neither side has spoken publicly on the issue, but a public relations representative for BFAA did state that their attorneys told them to wait until the court determined the next step before issuing a statement.
As is usually the case when mediation is unsuccessful, the two sides will likely be given a court date. The suit might also be dismissed or it is possible the judge could order them to attempt mediation again. Stine did file a request that the case be dismissed and the BFAA has requested the original lawsuit be amended to include additional plaintiffs.