Litigation Overview

Litigation Overview

Farmers and growers have been using glyphosate-based herbicides safely and effectively to control weeds for more than 40 years. These products continue to play a critical role in helping farmers manage weeds and sustainably deliver crops to markets around the world.

The litigation over glyphosate primarily stems from one place: an opinion by a group called IARC. IARC is not a regulatory authority and did not conduct any original scientific studies. Yet in 2015, after IARC classified glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen,” trial attorneys in the U.S. began running advertisements to recruit plaintiffs for lawsuits against Monsanto, the manufacturer of many glyphosate-based herbicides (i.e., Roundup®-branded herbicides). These lawsuits rely heavily on IARC’s classification, which has many significant limitations and flaws and runs counter to an extensive body of science supporting glyphosate’s safe use. More than four years after reaching its opinion, leading pesticide regulators around the world continue to conclude that glyphosate is not carcinogenic and that glyphosate-based herbicides are safe when used as directed.

Bayer will vigorously defend its products based on the strong body of science that confirms glyphosate and glyphosate-based products are safe when used as directed and that glyphosate does not cause cancer.

  1. Pilliod Verdict and Appeal

    On February 7, 2020 Monsanto filed its opening appeal brief and motion for judicial notice in the California Court of Appeal, urging the Court to reverse the verdict in the case. 

    Key Dates

    On May 13, 2019, a jury in the Pilliod v. Monsanto trial overseen by Judge Smith reached a verdict in favor of plaintiffs Alva and Alberta Pilliod. This was the first case in the glyphosate JCCP coordinated proceeding to go to trial.

    • On June 17, 2019, Monsanto filed post-trial motions in Pilliod, urging Judge Smith to reverse the jury verdict and enter judgment for Monsanto or order a new trial. The company argued in its briefs that the “verdicts do not reflect the evidence presented in the case; they reflect deep passion and prejudice borne from plaintiffs’ counsel’s improper argument rested on inflammatory, fabricated and irrelevant evidence that should have been excluded…  The resulting trial focused not on ascertaining the truth regarding the state of the science, causation, and compliance with legal duties, but instead on vilifying Monsanto in the abstract.” Read Monsanto’s Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict here, Motion for New Trial here, and Bayer’s statement here.
    • On July 25, 2019, Judge Smith issued a ruling on these post-trial motions, reducing the punitive, non- economic, and future medical damages in the case.  Read the Court's ruling here and Bayer's statement here.
    • On August 26, 2019, Monsanto filed a Notice of Appeal in the Pilliod glyphosate case with the California Court of Appeal. Read Monsanto’s Notice of Appeal here.
    • On February 7, 2020 Monsanto filed its opening appeal brief and motion for judicial notice in the California Court of Appeal, urging the Court to reverse the verdict in the case. Read the briefs here
  2. Hardeman Verdict and Appeal

    On December 13, 2019, Monsanto filed its opening appeal brief in the Hardeman glyphosate case in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, urging the Court to reverse the verdict in the case. The appellate briefing should conclude in the spring of 2020, after which time it will be up to the court to schedule argument. The appeals process in its entirety could take a year or longer.

    Key Dates

    • On March 19, 2019, a jury in Hardeman v. Monsanto, a bifurcated trial conducted before Judge Vince Chhabria in the federal multi-district litigation in the Northern District of California, found in favor of plaintiff Edwin Hardeman on the issue of causation after deliberating for more than four days. On March 27, 2019, the jury found Monsanto liable for Mr. Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) and awarded him a total of $80 million. Judge Chhabria later reduced the punitive damages to $20 million, thus cutting the overall verdict from $80.267 million to $25.267 million; read Bayer's statement here.
    • On August 15, 2019, Monsanto filed a Notice of Appeal in the Hardeman glyphosate case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and on December 13, 2019 filed its opening appeal brief. The company argued that the verdict in Hardeman v. Monsanto should be reversed because the failure-to-warn claims at the center of the case are preempted by federal law and the trial court committed a host of reversible evidentiary and instructional errors relating to causation. Read the opening appeal brief here, and Bayer’s press release here.  
    • On December 13, 2019, Monsanto filed its opening appeal brief in the Hardeman glyphosate case in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, urging the Court to reverse the verdict in the case. Read the opening appeal brief here and the amicus briefs filed on December 20 here
    • On December 19 and 20, 2019, amicus briefs were filed in the Hardeman glyphosate case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Read the briefs here
  3. Johnson Verdict and Appeal

    Monsanto filed to appeal the Johnson verdict in the Court of Appeal of the State of California and believes that the liability verdict and damage awards are not supported by the evidence at trial or the law. The appellate briefing concluded in August 2019; however, the schedule for argument or a decision regarding this appeal is up to the Court.

     Key Dates

    • On August 10, 2018, a jury in Dewayne Johnson v. Monsanto, a case in California state court, found Monsanto liable for Mr. Dewayne Johnson’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). Judge Suzanne R. Bolanos, who oversaw the trial, later reduced the punitive damage award by $211 million, from $289 million to $78 million.
    • On April 24, 2019, Monsanto filed to appeal the Johnson verdict in the Court of Appeal of the State of California. Monsanto’s brief argued that the evidence at trial fell far short of the substantial evidence required to support any theory of liability in the case and to prove causation in light of the favorable international consensus among health regulators that glyphosate is not carcinogenic and the extensive body of science on which their assessments rest. The Company argued the liability claims are preempted by federal law as well. Moreover, the brief argued that the Court’s exclusion of EPA and international regulatory evidence, particularly in light of its admission of IARC’s opinion, was reversible error that requires a new trial. Read Monsanto’s appellate brief here, motion for Judicial Notice here, and Bayer’s statement here.
    • On July 29, 2019, Monsanto filed its combined reply brief and cross-respondent’s brief in the Johnson glyphosate case in the Court of Appeal of the State of California. Read Monsanto’s Reply Brief and Cross-Respondent’s Brief hereAdditionally, amicus briefs in the appeal were filed on August 30 and September 3, 2019 and can be read here.
    •  On February 11, 2020, Monsanto filed a supplemental appeal brief in the Johnson case in the Court of Appeal of the State of California (First Appellate District, Division One). Read the brief here

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