Product Liability

U.S. Court of Appeals rejects Monsanto’s appeal, upholds $25 million judgment in first federal Roundup case

June 15, 2021

The U.S. Court of Appeals dealt a major blow to Monsanto last month when a panel refused to overturn the decision in the first Roundup case in federal court to go to trial – upholding a $25 million judgment for plaintiff Edwin Hardeman.  

As you might recall, in 2019 a unanimous jury found Monsanto liable for failing to warn that glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) can cause cancer, awarding Mr. Hardeman over $80 million in damages (1). Monsanto appealed the verdict and a federal judge later reduced the award to $25 million. The company then filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit in hopes of getting the decision overturned on the issue of federal preemption.  

In a unanimous published opinion, the Ninth Circuit panel rejected Monsanto’s argument by affirming that plaintiff Edwin Hardeman’s failure-to-warn claims are not preempted by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The panel added, “Because FIFRA’s misbranding requirements parallel those of California’s common law duty, Hardeman’s failure-to-warn claims effectively enforce FIFRA’s requirement against misbranding and are thus not expressly preempted” (2).  

Leslie Brueckner, counsel for Hardeman, commented on the decision, “The Ninth Circuit decision squarely rejects Monsanto’s argument that these claims are wiped out by federal law and the decision holds that the jury’s verdict that Roundup causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is supported by substantial evidence. This decision wipes Monsanto’s defenses off the table” (3). Bayer AG, the German pharmaceutical giant that acquired Monsanto in 2018, has said the company will petition the Supreme Court to review the case.

This is now the second appellate loss for Monsanto, who also unsuccessfully attempted to overturn a $20 million verdict in the first case to go to trial in state court. Monsanto is also appealing a $2 billion verdict, which was their third consecutive trial loss in the litigation. After the three losses, Bayer signaled a moved towards mediation after agreeing to postpone at least a half-dozen additional trials. Bayer finally announced in June 2020 that it will pay up to $10.9 billion to settle the vast majority of the remaining litigation, which involves nearly 125,000 claims overall (4).

If you or a loved one were exposed to Roundup® and have since been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, we're here to help. We invite you to join the community of individuals (and their families) who are holding Monsanto accountable by asserting your claim. We’d be honored to speak with you.  

Click HERE for a free and no-obligation review of your case. You may be entitled to substantial damages without ever going to court. If you do not receive a recovery through a lawsuit or settlement, you don’t owe us anything.  

References

  1. https://www.law360.com/articles/1143544
  2. https://www.law360.com/articles/1385003/9th-circ-won-t-wipe-out-25m-roundup-verdict
  3. Ibid
  4. https://media.bayer.com/baynews/baynews.nsf/id/Bayer-announces-agreements-to-resolve-major-legacy-Monsanto-litigation

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter to receive important legal updates and class action refund opportunities delivered straight to your inbox.