Bayer Buried By Another Massive Plaintiff’s Verdict – Will the $2B Award Impact Future Litigation?

//Bayer Buried By Another Massive Plaintiff’s Verdict – Will the $2B Award Impact Future Litigation?

by Josh Taylor

This week, a California jury awarded one of the largest verdicts in history to a married couple who sued Monsanto (and its parent company, Bayer) for its product Roundup’s role in developing non-Hodgkins lymphoma.  The $2 billion verdict is the latest in a string of enormous verdicts against Monsanto, which was recently acquired by Bayer.  Two other recent verdicts stemming from the company’s seeming ignorance of using glyphosate in the weed killer without truly knowing its cancer-causing effects have amounted to another $150 million bill for Bayer.

While the $2 billion verdict, comprised of $55 million in compensatory damages and the vast remainder for punitive damages, will likely be knocked lower by the judge, the mounting societal anger against companies that disregard safety for profit is more than tangible.  That anger against Monsanto stems from its use of glyphosate, one of the most widely used herbicides in the world.  In this case, the jury saw mountains of evidence showing that Monsanto tried to obscure and obstruct scientific analysis of use of the chemical in its popular weed killer, Roundup.

What’s next for Bayer?

The latest verdict proves that Bayer and Monsanto are in for an expensive several years.  In fact, several thousands of other Roundup cases are in various stages of litigation currently.  Thus, personal injury and products liability attorneys have already been hard at work for affected clients.  However, this latest verdict speaks volumes about the reactions of juries to the overarching evidence of Monsanto’s antagonistic apathy toward their products’ potential harms.  Attorneys with potentially weak Roundup cases or lacking certain key evidence may still end up filing given the overall timbre of the litigation so far.

Arguably, the large verdict came because of the judge more liberally accepting evidence than in the first two cases, but when examining cases on a scale of tens of millions to billions in plaintiffs’ verdicts, even the lower end of that scale should be appealing enough to file.  As Bayer’s appeals and other litigation plays out in the coming months, personal injury attorneys should have an eye on the process and an ear to the ground for clients claiming cancer or death caused by Roundup.  The extensive reach of the product could see plaintiffs from each and every small town and city.

Besides being knocked down substantially by a judge, the couple will not see a cent of the award while the case is appealed by Bayer, a process that could take several years.

By |May 17th, 2019|

About the Author:

For years, Josh has helped lawyers become more organized, productive, and profitable. A trained litigator, Josh came to Smokeball from a large east-coast law firm where his practice focused on franchise, insurance, marine, and general litigation. His work with Smokeball, and his continued passion for what he does each day, is driven by a desire to help lawyers and their staff do better in every way. Knowing well the stress and strain put on today’s legal professional, he regularly focuses on improving work and life in the law. He has traveled the country working with and learning from lawyers and their staff. Josh speaks regularly to bar associations about successful law firm practices and other legal topics. Recent notable engagements have been with the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference. In addition to his work at Smokeball, Josh serves on the Writing Resource Center staff at The John Marshall Law School. Besides legal technology, his research interests include judicial decision-making, jury decision-making and psychology, and legal writing. He has written and overseen research exploring causal effects of sex/gender on federal appellate court decision-making, and assisted with research for a forthcoming textbook on judicial decision-making. Additionally, Josh sits on the Board of Directors of Chicago-based Community Activism Law Alliance and on the Board of Directors of Chicago Fringe Opera Company. Josh holds his J.D., cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as a Senior Editor of the Wash. U. Law Review, held the prestigious Thompson Coburn Research Fellowship, served as Research Assistant to then-Vice-Dean (now Chancellor) Andrew D. Martin, and clerked at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a B.M. in Music Performance with Honors Scholar distinction from the University of Connecticut, making him a Huskies basketball fan through and through. Follow Josh’s activity on LinkedIn, and keep up with new articles on the Smokeball Blog.

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