Sometimes as lawyers we forget that the rest of the world knows far less than we do about the litigations we deal with on a daily basis. One such example is the Roundup litigation.
The case stems from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a blood cancer, that Plaintiffs’ allege is caused by exposure to Roundup. Though some might believe that only those who spray it on a daily basis in their capacity with work would have enough possible exposure to get NHL, they would be wrong. In fact, of the three cases that have been tried to date, two have been merely residential users.
This week the judge in the recent Alameda County case, that resulted in a $2 billion punitive damages award (where Plaintiffs’ counsel only asked for a billion) essentially zeroed the punitive damages award to nothing, and ordered counsel on both sides to come up with an agreed upon amount for the punitive award.
In a hard fought litigation such as this one, getting counsel to agree on anything is nearly impossible. If they cannot agree, the Court has ordered a new trial.
Monsanto has lauded the recent developments as a “win” in the media, but trying a second case in Alameda County California could easily be seen as a death knell for Bayer (who now owns Monsanto).
Bayers stock has lost 45% its value since the Round up verdicts, and Bayer is now worth less than the $63 billion they paid for Monsanto.
A second case in Alameda County could honestly end up in even a worse punitive verdict award than the first.
So as Monsanto gloats about the recent ruling, it very likely may be a small battle won in a war that is slowly destroying Bayer.