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.

The next trial is currently scheduled to take place in the City of St. Louis on Oct. 15, 2019. Please note that trial schedules are subject to change based on the schedules of the courts and parties.

  • Winston (St. Louis City, Missouri): October 15, 2019

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 July 25, 2019, Judge Winifred Smith in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Alameda reduced the total damage award in the Pilliod case from $2.055 billion to $86.7 million. Bayer plans to file an appeal with the California Court of Appeal.

    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
  2. Hardeman Verdict and Appeal

    On July 15, 2019, Judge Vince Chhabria in the federal multi-district litigation in Northern District of California issued a ruling on Monsanto’s post-trial motions in the Hardeman glyphosate case, reducing the overall verdict from $80.267 million to $25.267 million. On August 15, 2019, Monsanto filed a Notice of Appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

    Key Dates

    On March 19, 2019, a jury in Hardeman v. Monsanto, a bifurcated trial conducted before Judge Chhabria, 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.

    • On May 31, 2019, Monsanto filed post-trial motions in the Hardeman case, urging Judge Chhabria to reverse the jury verdict and enter judgment for Monsanto, or in the alternative, order a new trial. The company made a series of arguments in its brief including:
      • That the plaintiff’s expert evidence was unreliable and should not have been admitted under the Daubert standard;
      • That the evidence fell far short of proving that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicides caused Mr. Hardeman’s NHL;
      • That the verdict cannot stand in light of the favorable international consensus among health regulators, based on the prevailing science, that glyphosate is not carcinogenic;
      • That the claims in the case are preempted by federal law; and that the damage awards were excessive and should be reduced or eliminated.

    Read Monsanto’s brief here and Bayer’s statement here.

    • On July 15, 2019, Judge Chhabria issued a ruling on the post-trial motions in the Hardeman glyphosate case, reducing the punitive damages to $20 million, which cuts the overall verdict from $80.267 million to $25.267 million. Read the Court’s ruling denying Monsanto’s motion for judgment and a new trial here, the Court’s ruling reducing damages here, and 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. Read Monsanto’s Notice of Appeal 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 schedule for argument or a decision as to 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 here.

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