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Bayer in the Weeds over Monsanto’s Roundup

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A Philadelphia Judge upheld a $175 million verdict against Bayer’s Monsanto, calling Monsanto’s post-trial performance indignant, self-promotional, and more.

Philadelphia, PAPhiladelphia Judge James Crumlish III dug Bayer’s Monsanto into the weeds last month. Along with rejecting Monsanto’s challenge to a $175 million Roundup verdict, he had harsh words regarding the company’s trial tactics, calling its performance indignant and self-promotional. And he dished out more punishment by awarding $2.3 million in delay damages to plaintiff Ernest Caranci.

About a month after Monsanto failed to kick Judge Crumlish off the case by arguing that the $175 million verdict in Caranci v. Monsanto was the result of a litany of errors from plaintiffs counsel and the court, he got even. “Aggressively blaming the court and plaintiff’s counsel for the outcome as opposed to the ineffectiveness of defendant’s trial tactics, strategic choice of trial witnesses, cross examinations or proffered defense evidence outcome is hardly a compelling basis for the court to overturn this jury’s decision,” Crumlish ruled, and reported. A spokesperson for Bayer said, “The Caranci trial was marred by significant and reversible legal and evidentiary errors that unfairly prejudiced the company and distracted from the causation issues in this case, including the court’s undisclosed communication with the jury during deliberations.”

Monsanto argued that a post-trial conversation with a juror revealed the court had engaged in ex parte [one-sided] communication with the jury, which warranted a new trial, and the reason that Crumlish recuse himself from the case. Crumlish was skeptical of how Monsanto obtained information, and its validity, from the juror. According to, Crumlish said that:
  • Defense counsel facilitated a letter from the juror, which they then included in their post-trial motion without first notifying the court about the juror’s apparent concerns.
  • Monsanto withheld the information and presented it later in its post-trial motion to gain a strategic advantage.
  • Monsanto made efforts during the post-trial proceedings to limit the plaintiff’s opportunity to respond to the defense’s filings.

“This gamesmanship and tactic of ‘last word-ism’ unfortunately plagued the trial and repeatedly led to the potential to unfairly bushwhack opposing counsel with undisclosed post-trial evidence or legal arguments,” he wrote. Clearly, Crumlish had the last word.
Caranci v. Monsanto was the first of three Roundup verdicts to come out of Philadelphia as of March 1, 2024.

More Monsanto/Bayer Lawsuits

Sonoma County judge Christopher Honigsberg dismissed a Roundup lawsuit filed by Michael and Bobbie Meyer that accused Monsanto of causing the husband’s cancer. Honigsberg’s dismissal, which is permanent and the couple cannot file another similar claim, followed two days of testimony in a jury trial that started Feb. 28. Plaintiffs’ attorney told The Press Democrat that his clients asked for the dismissal. He declined to elaborate but it sounds like “take the money and run”. 

“Sure sounds like the Bayer lawyers looked at the testimony so far and decided it'd be cheaper to hand the plaintiff a bag of money and put the case behind them,” one Press Democrat reader commented.

Delaware judge Vivian Medinilla declared a mistrial March 1, two hours after jurors said they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict after three days of deliberations. The family of Anthony Cloud, who worked for more than a decade as a landscaper, filed the lawsuit about six weeks before Cloud died. In 2018 he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. His family was seeking $142 million in punitive damages. The case is Cloud v. Monsanto, N21C-08-279, Delaware Superior Court (Wilmington).

Bloomberg reported that Bayer won a separate Roundup trial in state court in Arkansas, making it Bayer’s 11th victory in the last 17 cases in which judgments were entered at trial. The verdict “validates the company’s strategy of taking cases to trial based on strong scientific and regulatory evidence,” according to the company’s statement.

California judge Kevin Enright was persuaded by Monsanto to cut by more than 90% a $332 million jury award to a former land surveyor who blamed his cancer on the company’s Roundup weedkiller. According to Bloomberg, Enright in Diego rejected Monsanto’s bid for a new trial in Michael Dennis’ lawsuit but agreed to reduce the verdict to $28 million. The case is Dennis v. Monsanto, 37-2021-00047326, Superior Court of California, San Diego County.


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