Judge May Slash Award in California Glyphosate Cancer Case
Judge May Slash Award in California Glyphosate Cancer Case
Judge may overrule jury’s decision in Monsanto Roundup case
13 October, 2018, 23:47
However, on Wednesday, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos tentatively granted Monsanto's request for a new trial, which could ultimately lead to the $250 million in punitive damages portion of the award being dropped. She said the evidence wasn't there to award $250 million in punitive damages.
Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old father or two, was the first of more than 4,000 cancer patients to allege that glyphosate - the key ingredient in Roundup - is a carcinogen.
"Plaintiff failed to meet his burden of producing clear and convincing evidence of malice or oppression by Monsanto".
A spokeswoman for Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, whose partner R. Brent Wisner won the August 10 verdict, declined to comment until after the hearing.
This week has hosted the initial hearing to request a retrial of the Bayer case that was heard in August and ended with Bayer's Monsanto unit, ordered to pay some $289 million to Dewayne Johnson in punitive and compensatory damages.
Lawyers for both sides are arguing in court Wednesday whether the improper arguments entitled Monsanto to a new trial.
What happens with Johnson's case doesn't just affect him - it could set a precedent for more than 4,000 similar cases awaiting trial in federal or state courts.
Monsanto had argued ahead of the hearing that Johnson failed to prove that Roundup or similar herbicides caused his lymphoma, and presented no evidence that Monsanto executives were malicious in marketing it. She wrote that he did not provide any evidence that Monsanto employees believed that exposure to the product caused his lymphoma. Monsanto's efforts to test its products, she writes, also are "not consistent with a finding of conscious disregard".
Last month, the Missouri-based agrochemical company filed motions seeking a new trial or the dismissal of the verdict, with Monsanto attorneys arguing, "the scientific evidence in this case falls far short of the sufficient and substantial evidence required to sustain this verdict". But Bolanos said, even if that were true, "not returning a phone call does not rise to the level of despicable conduct". At one point, he testified, he called Monsanto to ask about a possible link between the pesticide and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, but his call was never returned.
Bolanos' tentative order applied to the $250 million award; attorneys were arguing in court over whether the $39 million in compensatory damages should stand.
Monsanto also cited "significant prejudicial misconduct" by Wisner that "inflamed the jury".
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