Monsanto Secures Defense Verdict In Latest Missouri Roundup Herbicide Trial

Posted by David Siegel on May 24, 2023 1:06:12 PM

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CVN screenshot of defense attorney Christine Miller delivering her closing argument

Clayton, MO - A Missouri state court jury returned a defense verdict on Tuesday in a trial claiming Monsanto’s popular Roundup herbicide causes cancer.

The St. Louis County jury delivered their verdict just hours after hearing closing arguments in a trial that began in late April. The case drew scrutiny from both plaintiff and defense attorneys, due to taking place in a key jurisdiction just miles from Monsanto’s former US headquarters and also in the wake of six previous Roundup trial victories for Monsanto.

The plaintiff in the current case, Sharlean Gordon, claimed she developed a rare form of blood cancer due to exposure to glyphosate - a chemical present in the Roundup that Gordon used while gardening. Her attorneys sought $36 million in damages, accusing Bayer-owned Monsanto of continuing to sell Roundup despite knowing it posed a cancer risk - an accusation the company vehemently denies.

The full trial was webcast and recorded gavel-to-gavel by Courtroom View Network, and the proceedings are available with a subscription to CVN’s online trial video library, which also includes the first Roundup trial in St. Louis County that also ended in a defense verdict. 


In a statement provided to CVN by Monsanto after the trial concluded, the company expressed sympathy for the plaintiff but noted that Wednesday’s verdict marks seven consecutive defense wins at Roundup trials.

“This decision is 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 stated.

Aimee Wagstaff of The Wagstaff Law Firm, who represents Gordon, told CVN after the trial that while she has respect for the jury system she believes jurors were prevented from considering all the evidence that could have proven Monsanto’s supposed liability.

“Unfortunately, because several key pieces of evidence did not make it to the jury, we do not believe the jurors were able to see the full picture,” Wagstaff said.

She also pushed back on the verdict potentially impacting the thousands of Roundup cases that remain pending in state and federal court throughout the country. A large-scale settlement had seemed likely after jury verdicts in initial Roundup trials delivered headline-grabbing awards for plaintiffs, but those plans have been reportedly reconsidered in light of repeated recent defense wins. 

“I look forward to continuing this fight, and do not believe this outcome dictates anything for future claimants,” Wagstaff said.

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CVN screenshot of plaintiff attorney Fidelma Fitzpatrick delivering her closing argument

Her co-counsel, Fidelma Fitzpatrick of Motley Rice LLC, expressed a similar sentiment.

“While the jury unfortunately did not find Monsanto culpable in this case, the legal fight to hold Monsanto accountable for the pain and trauma endured by Ms. Gordon and other consumers throughout this country is far from over,” she said.

Monsanto was represented by Katherine Hacker and Mark Ouweleen of Barlit Beck LLP and by Christine Miller of Husch Blackwell.

Judge Brian May presided over the trial.

The case is Sharlean Gordon v. Monsanto Co., case number 17SL-CC02721 in Missouri’s 21st Judicial Circuit.

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Topics: Missouri