Anybody following the Roundup Weed Killer mass-tort litigation, which involves 125,000 lawsuits will most likely not be surprised to learn that a Roundup case, which is not included in the tenuous $10 billion settlement, was one of the highest verdicts awarded last year. In fact, the case of Pilliod et al. v. Monsanto Co was ranked #2 on The National Law Journal’s “Top 100 verdicts of 2019, with the plaintiffs awarded an historic $2.055 billion—the ninth largest jury verdict for a personal injury case in U.S. history, according to a press release by co-counsel for the Pilliods.
The Pilliods, a husband and wife from Northern California sued Monsanto, alleging that years of using the world’s most ubiquitous herbicide caused them both to develop a form of cancer called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which develops when the body produces too many abnormal white blood cells called lymphocytes.
The trial, which took nearly two months, resulted in the jury finding sufficient evidence that Monsanto’s glyphosate-containing herbicide, caused the couple’s cancer. The jury also found Monsanto negligent for failing to warn consumers about the potential health risks of glyphosate.
The Pilliods were awarded over $55 million in compensatory damages and $2 billion in punitive damages. Attorneys for the Miller firm and Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman served as co-lead counsel for the couple.
Another 2019 Roundup trial made the top 100 verdict list of 2019: Hardeman v. Monsanto Co., which resulted in an $80 million jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff, Edwin Hardeman. The National Law Journal ranks Hardeman’s win #34 on its list.
The aforementioned firm of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman also served in the Hardeman trial, as well as the Johnson v. Monsanto Co. The trial of Dwayne “Lee” Johnson, a former groundskeeper, has received widespread national media attention, because it was the first trial ever against Monsanto, which was acquired by Bayer AG in 2018, the same year of Johnson’s trial victory.
This makes Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman the only firm to serve in all three Roundup cases which have thus far gone to trial. Bayer is appealing all three decisions.
Brent Wisner, co-lead trial attorney in all three Roundup cases, says that the settlement-in-principle for the bulk of the Roundup cases is in jeopardy of falling apart.
Wisner says in the press release, “As of right now, there is no settlement. We had an agreement but when the time came to finalize the deal, Bayer retreated. While we are deeply disappointed that they refused to honor our deal just weeks after they broadcasted it to regulators, the courts, and the world, we welcome the opportunity to continue earning massive verdicts at trial on behalf of our clients.”