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  • Writer's pictureMatt Leckman

Roundup Judge: "There was clear and convincing evidence that Monsanto's actions were reprehensible."

Updated: Sep 10, 2023

Roundup spray bottle on a bed of weeds
Roundup Ready-to-Use, one of Monsanto's most popular Roundup formulations

In an order entered this week, Judge Winifred Smith of the Superior Court of Alameda County, California, denied Monsanto's post-trial request for a new trial in the Roundup case, Pilliod v. Monsanto, which resulted in a $2 billion verdict for the plaintiffs in May of this year.

This is the second time this month that a trial court has thwarted Monsanto's efforts to overturn a jury award entered against the company in connection with its weedkiller product, Roundup. Several weeks ago, Judge Chhabria, who oversees the federal Roundup MDL proceedings, issued a similar order denying a new trial but reducing the punitive damages award in the Hardeman v. Monsanto case. Like the order in Hardeman, the Pilliod order found the $2 billion punitive verdict excessive (reducing it to $87 million), but resoundingly rejected Monsanto's argument that its conduct was not warranting a punitive verdict at all. As the Pilliod trial court observed, "[T]here was clear and convincing evidence that Monsanto made efforts to impede, discourage, or distort scientific inquiry and the resulting science. Monsanto conducted initial studies about glyphosate but decided to not look further when there were indications that glyphosate might cause cancers." Juries in Pilliod and other Roundup trials have heard evidence that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has concluded that glyphosate, which is the the organophosphate contained in Roundup, is "probably carcinogenic."

You can read the IARC monograph on glyphosate here. And you can read about the Pilliod trial and the work done by Attorney Brent Wisner and his colleagues at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman here.

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