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.

In 2015, after the International Agency for Research on Cancer (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 runs counter to an extensive body of science supporting glyphosate’s safe use and has many significant limitations and flaws.

A number of trials are currently scheduled for 2019 in several venues, including the federal MDL in the District Court for the Northern District of California, state court in California, and state courts in both St. Louis City and St. Louis County, Missouri. The next trial is currently scheduled to take place in state court in St. Louis County on August 19, 2019. Please note that trial schedules are subject to change based on the schedules of the courts and parties.

  • Adams (St. Louis County, Missouri): August 19, 2019
  • Lamb (St. Louis County, Missouri): September 9, 2019
  • 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.

Pilliod Verdict and Appeal

On May 13, 2019, a jury in the Pilliod v. Monsanto trial overseen by Judge Winifred Smith in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Alameda reached a verdict in favor of plaintiffs Alva and Alberta Pilliod, awarding them $2.055 billion in damages. This was the first case in the glyphosate JCCP coordinated proceeding to go to trial and has no bearing on future cases and trials, as each one has its own factual and legal circumstances.

On June 17, 2019, Monsanto filed post-trial motions in the Pilliod v. Monsanto case, 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.

Hardeman Verdict and Appeal

On March 19, 2019, a jury in Hardeman v. Monsanto, a bifurcated trial conducted in the federal multi-district litigation before Judge Vince Chhabria 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, including approximately $5 million in compensatory damages and $75 million in punitive damages. The verdict in this trial has no impact on future cases and trials – as each one has its own factual and legal circumstances.

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 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.  

Johnson Verdict and Appeal

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) and awarded Mr. Johnson a total of $289 million, including $39 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages. Judge Suzanne R. Bolanos, who oversaw the trial, later reduced the punitive damage award by $211 million. Monsanto filed a notice of appeal with the California Court of Appeal on November 20, 2018, and believes that the liability verdict and damage awards are not supported by the evidence at trial or the law. 

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.

Recent Filings and Rulings