Attorney R. Brent Wisner’s client, a 46-year-old former school district groundskeeper from California, was awarded $289 million but damages were later to reduced to $78 million. Regardless, the judgment caused rather a stir in the market, wiping $10 billion of Bayer’s market value in just one day. Dewayne “Lee” Johnson’s case also opened the floodgates to thousands and thousands more Monsanto glyphosate lawsuits
After finding himself alone in the San Francisco courtroom with two of Bayer’s lawyers, Wisner recounts the following conversation, as reported by Bloomberg:
“What are you doing? Why are you trying this case?” [Wisner asked Bayer’s lawyers]. To clarify the question, he added, “We’re going to win, and it’s going to make it much harder for you to settle cases in the future.”
Bayer’s lawyers were unfazed. “They said, ‘Oh, Brent, you know, there’s winning, and then there’s winning. And if you think you’re going to win a couple million dollars, and you think that’s a big win, that’s fine—but we don’t think you have a chance at getting a very big verdict here,’?” Wisner recalls. Shocked, he told them, “I don’t know what you’re telling your client, but I’m going to be asking for a stupid amount of money.” (The lawyers for Bayer say they have no recollection of the conversation.)
Bayer lost two more Roundup trials in the Bay Area within the next nine months.
The $2 Billion Plus Roundup Lawsuits
Although verdicts have been reduced, they likely amount to more than a chunk of change for Bayer. An Oakland jury in May awarded a husband and wife more than $2 billion who claimed their use of Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, but in July a judge reduced that amount to a pittance - $86.7 million. A lawyer for the couple said the order was a victory, though “we believe the reduction in damages does not fairly capture the pain and suffering experienced by Alva and Alberta.”
In a case with similar allegations, a federal judge in San Francisco in March reduced an $80 million verdict to $25.3 million: he supported the $5.3 million in compensatory damages awarded to a man with non-Hodgkins lymphoma (now in remission) but reduced the punitive charges from $75 million to $20 million, Reuters said. Edwin Hardeman claimed he used Roundup since the 1980s.
READ MORE ROUNDUP CANCER LEGAL NEWS
Attorney Wisner, aged 36, told Bloomberg Businessweek about his the social benefits that come with going up against Bayer:
“The first thing I do when I meet a stranger is, I tell him that I’m a lawyer, that I sue Monsanto, because people immediately go, ‘Good man, let me buy you a drink.’… “Everywhere I go, it’s amazing, everyone f---ing hates these guys. It’s great.”