Monsanto Prevails at 1st Multi-Plaintiff Roundup Herbicide Trial in Missouri

Posted by David Siegel on Sep 1, 2022 11:06:15 PM

Roundup closings

CVN screenshot of defense attorney Manuel Cachán delivering his closing argument

Clayton, MO - A Missouri state court jury returned a defense verdict for Bayer-owned agrochemical giant Monsanto on Thursday at the first trial involving Roundup herbicide to take place in St. Louis County nearby the company’s former U.S. headquarters.

The jury returned its verdict the same day it heard closing arguments in the trial that began on August 3, adding a fifth trial victory for Monsanto in cases involving claims that glyphosate, a chemical used in Roundup, causes cancer. The three other Roundup trials to date ended in verdicts favoring plaintiffs.

Besides being the first Roundup trial in the the St. Louis area the trial also marked the first time a jury heard claims from three plaintiffs in a Roundup case simultaneously. The plaintiffs, a woman and two men in their 60’s and 70’s, all claim their glyphosate exposure occurred while spraying weeds in their yards.

Their lawyers argued Monsanto had internal knowledge about glyphosate’s supposed carcinogenic properties, but withheld that information from the public to protect sales of a popular brand, however Monsanto successfully countered that scientific studies supposedly linking glyphosate exposure to cancer are fundamentally flawed and that numerous other studies determined the chemical to be safe.

The trial was also the first time arguments and testimony in a Roundup case were filmed gavel-to-gavel by the news media with Courtroom View Network serving as the media pool provider for the trial.

Subscribers to CVN’s online trial video library get unlimited on-demand access to the full trial proceedings, including all witness testimony and digital images of the exhibits and demonstratives show in the courtroom. The trial is among hundreds of others in a wide range of practice areas from state courts throughout the country.

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Monsanto issued a statement after the jury announced their verdict expressing sympathy for the plaintiffs' illness but reiterating the arguments made to the jury that Roundup did not cause their cancer.

“The jury’s conclusions are consistent with the assessments of expert regulators worldwide as well as the overwhelming evidence from four decades of scientific studies concluding that Roundup can be used safely and is not carcinogenic,” the company said.

Attorney Majed Nachawati of the Fears Nachawati Law Firm, who represented the plaintiffs, told CVN after the trial concluded that the firm would press on with Roundup-related lawsuits against Monsanto.

“This trial exposed a pattern by Monsanto over many decades to discount and minimize known links between Roundup and non-Hodgkin lymphoma,” Nachawati said. “Our fight continues on behalf of the many thousands of people who have suffered as a result of this company’s failure to warn.”

Roundup PL closings

CVN screenshot of plaintiffs' attorney Gibbs Henderson delivering his closing argument 

While Monsanto has settled the majority of the thousands of lawsuits filed throughout the United States involving Roundup, the company still faces numerous upcoming trials involving glyphosate exposure.

Another trial is scheduled to begin in late September in Florida state court, and another trial will commence late October in the City of St. Louis, which is generally considered a venue more favorable to plaintiffs than St. Louis County. Numerous other trials are scheduled in the St. Louis area throughout 2023. 

Monsanto was represented by attorneys from Proskauer Rose LLP and Covington & Burling LLP.

The case is captioned Carl Alesi, et al. v. Monsanto Company, case number 19SL-CC03617 in St. Louis County Circuit Court, Missouri.

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Topics: Products Liability