Monsanto Faces 2nd Trial Over Alleged PCB Contamination At Washington State School

Posted by David Siegel on Sep 11, 2021 8:51:37 PM

Friedman closings

CVN screenshot of plaintiff attorney Rick Friedman delivering his closing argument in the previous recently concluded PCB trial in Seattle

Seattle, WA - Bayer’s Monsanto unit faces a trial later this month in Washington State court over supposed chemical contamination at a local school just weeks after a similar trial ended with a $185 million verdict, and the proceedings will be webcast gavel-to-gavel by Courtroom View Network.

Opening statements are scheduled for September 20th in King County Superior Court in a lawsuit claiming a group of students, parents, teachers, and staff from Sky Valley Education Center suffered a range of injuries due to exposure to toxic chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.

The case is largely a rematch of a previous trial that ended July 27 with a plaintiffs verdict consisting of $50,150,000 in compensatory damages and $135 million in punitive damages awarded to a group of teachers claiming exposure to PCBs located in the aging school’s outdated fluorescent light fixtures caused debilitating neurological damage.

Bayer argued at the time, and is expected to again argue in the current case, that while PCBs were present at the Sky Valley facility, they were never found in sufficient numbers to cause the injuries the teachers allege they sustained.

Plaintiffs in both cases maintain Monsanto knew for years that PCBs posed a cancer risk, but that they intentionally withheld that information from the public.

The previous trial was webcast gavel-to-gavel by CVN, and CVN will again stream and record the full proceedings in this pending case.


The earlier trial took place in a sprawling convention center space repurposed as a cavernous courtroom to accommodate social distancing amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the pending case, the judge, the attorneys and some witnesses will convene in a normal courtroom but the jury will monitor the proceedings remotely via Zoom and then gather in person to deliberate at the conclusion of the trial.

This is one of the most high-stakes products liability trials to date to employ this hybridized version of in-person and virtual trials. Earlier this year Seattle led the nation in resuming civil jury trials by relying on Zoom-based proceedings.

There are lawsuits pending related to roughly 200 other plaintiffs alleging PCB exposure at the Sky Valley facility, though Monsanto faces PCB-related claims throughout the United States.

In 2016 CVN recorded two trials in California state court involving alleged exposure to PCBs, with both trials ending in defense verdicts.

The plaintiffs in the current case are again represented by Friedman | Rubin, and Monsanto is represented by Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP.

The case is captioned Long, et al. v. Pharmacia, LLC, case number 18-2-00001-7 SEA.

Judge Douglas North will preside.

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Topics: Products Liability, Washington