While there has been some speculation that Monsanto may attempt to settle the federal cases filed against it in connection with Roundup, the appeals of three previous adverse verdicts are ongoing in state courts. The company is seeking to have the jury verdicts against it thrown out in their entirety while the plaintiff is attempting to have the full jury verdict reinstated. The outcome of the appeal will have far-reaching ramifications for Monsanto, which is facing potentially crippling litigation due to a long pattern of troubling corporate behavior.
There are numerous Roundup lawsuits now pending against Monsanto in both state and federal courts. These filings claim that the plaintiffs have contracted cancer after exposure to glyphosate, which is the main ingredient of Roundup. Specifically, the lawsuits allege that there is a connection between Roundup and non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
In 2018, Monsanto lost its first case in this litigation. A landscaper named Dewayne Johnson, who was suffering from terminal cancer, won a $289 million verdict against the company for his condition in state court in California. Much of the verdict consisted of punitive damages. The size of the verdict stunned observers and cast a pall over the shares of Monsanto’s parent company, Bayer. Worries over such litigation have shaved as much as $20 billion off of the market capitalization of Bayer. The $289 million verdict was later reduced to $78 million.
Alleged Unethical Conduct
In the Johnson case, the jury reacted viscerally to Monsanto’s troubling pattern of corporate conduct. The plaintiffs presented to the jury detailed internal communications that outline the company’s strategy in dealing with the potential dangers of the product. Instead of either pulling the product from the market or taking steps to make it safer, Monsanto attempted a campaign of its own to influence the science of how Roundup is safe. The company wrote reports claiming that Roundup was entirely safe and hired ghostwriters to attach their names to them. Monsanto now points to this science as the reason why the claims against it lack any merit.
The evidence here shows that Monsanto has known for years that Roundup may be dangerous. After the Johnson case, Monsanto lost two other cases, including one where the jury assessed a $2 billion verdict against the company.
Monsanto Looks to Appeal Verdicts
Monsanto is appealing all three of these verdicts with the hope that it can ultimately escape liability. Since the Johnson case was the first loss for the company, it is now at the appeals court. Given the billions of dollars of possible liability, there is a great deal of attention focused on the appeal.
Monsanto has argued that the jury was wrong about every aspect of its verdict against the company. The company has claimed that it had no duty to warn consumers about the dangers of its product since there was no danger. The company also stated that Johnson did not demonstrate that Roundup caused his cancer and that the jury was wrong to award him damages for pain and suffering that went beyond his short expected life expectancy. The company accused plaintiff lawyers of inflaming the jury with sensationalized arguments. In other cases, there have been disputes in court about whether and when the plaintiffs can introduce this evidence.
Johnson’s attorneys have responded to Monsanto’s brief with a point-by-point rebuttal of the claims advanced by the company in its legal arguments. Johnson has argued that the trial court incorrectly reduced the amount of the jury verdict because of the egregiousness of the company’s conduct. He has claimed that the new jury verdict amounts to no more than a “slap on the wrist” given how bad the company’s behavior was.
Johnson’s legal brief went into painstaking detail about Monsanto’s conduct and the lengths it went to in order to avoid addressing the potential danger of its product. According to Johnson, the greatest effort that the company expended was in attempting to figure out how to counter growing evidence of Roundup’s danger.
Monsanto Continues to Defend Its Product
Monsanto has pointed to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) conclusion that Roundup is safe as evidence that Roundup is not a carcinogen. However, the EPA is a holdout, given that other regulatory bodies around the world are coming around to the belief that Roundup is dangerous. The World Health Organization has stated that Roundup is “probably” a carcinogen. The EPA had previously started taking steps to restrict Roundup under the Obama Administration, only to reverse course during the Trump Administration.
Is Your Law Firm Looking For Roundup Lawsuit Leads?
Currently, there are over 18,000 cases that have been filed in connection with Roundup. There is multi-district litigation in federal court in California. There are also thousands of cases in state courts that have shown a propensity to award higher damages to the plaintiffs.
There are thousands of potential plaintiffs who are looking for help against companies like Bayer and Monsanto. Broughton Partners works to connect law firms with qualified retainers who have viable cases, such as non-Hodgkins lymphoma caused by Roundup.
Call 912-304-4444 or fill out an online form for a consultation.