Bayer Wins 7th Defense Verdict Over Monsanto's Roundup Pesticide
By Amanda Bronstad
Law.com (May 24, 2023, 12:16 PM) -- A Missouri jury took about five hours to deal Bayer its seventh win in a row over Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide.
The verdict, reached late Tuesday, came after closing arguments earlier that day in a trial that began about a month ago in Clayton, Missouri, near Monsanto’s St. Louis headquarters.
“The jury’s verdict in favor of the company brings this trial to a successful conclusion and is consistent with the evidence in this case that Roundup is not responsible for the plaintiff’s illness,” a Bayer spokesman said in a statement.
“While we have great sympathy for the plaintiff in this case, the jury has weighed the evidence from both sides, in this case, and concluded that Roundup is not responsible for her injuries,” the spokesman added. “This decision is consistent with the assessments of expert regulators worldwide as well as the overwhelming evidence from four decades of scientific studies concluding that Roundup can be used safely and is not carcinogenic.”
Bartlit Beck partner Kat Hacker, in Denver, represented Bayer alongside Chicago partner Mark Ouweleen and Christine Miller, a partner at Husch Blackwell in St. Louis.
Aimee Wagstaff of Wagstaff Law Firm in Denver, and Motley Rice’s Fidelma Fitzpatrick, in Providence, Rhode Island, represented plaintiff Sharlean Gordon, who was diagnosed in 2006 with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after years of spraying Roundup in her yard in Illinois.
Fitzpatrick said in a statement: “While Monsanto was not found culpable in this case, the legal fight to hold Monsanto accountable for the pain and trauma endured by Ms. Gordon and other consumers throughout this country is far from over. We look forward to continuing this fight for them all.”
Prior to this month’s trial, Bayer won six verdicts in a row. Monsanto won a Nov. 9 defense verdict in another Roundup trial in the same courtroom before St. Louis County Circuit Judge Brian May.
Two other trials in Missouri last year ended in defense verdicts, one on Sept. 1 in Clayton involving three plaintiffs and one on June 10 in Kansas City. Monsanto also won trials in Medford, Oregon, and Los Angeles.
In 2020, Bayer, which owns Monsanto, agreed to pay $10 billion to resolve an estimated 120,000 claims over Roundup, a pesticide on the market since 1974. But thousands of Roundup cases remain unsettled, prompting trials in California, Missouri and Oregon.
Wagstaff is co-lead plaintiffs’ counsel in the Roundup multidistrict litigation in the Northern District of California and served on the trial team in the first bellwether trial, which ended in an $80 million verdict in 2019.
Two other Roundup trials in California, one in San Francisco County Superior Court and the other in Alameda County Superior Court, ended with jury awards of $289 million and $2 billion, respectively.