In post-trial motions filed in Pilliod v. Monsanto, Monsanto (a Bayer company) urged California Superior Court Judge Winifred Smith to reverse a March jury verdict in which a San Francisco federal court awarded compensatory damages of $5.3 million and punitive damages of $75 million to a 70-year-old California man who became ill after spraying the herbicide on his property for decades. Instead Monsanto us requesting a judgment be found for Monsanto or order a new trial.
The active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide product Roundup is glyphosate.
In a statement on Monday, the company argued in its briefs that the “verdicts do not reflect the evidence presented in the case; they reflect deep passion and prejudice borne from plaintiffs’ counsel’s improper argument rested on inflammatory, fabricated and irrelevant evidence that should have been excluded.
The company said that the resulting trial focused not on ascertaining the truth regarding the state of the science, causation, and compliance with legal duties, but instead on vilifying Monsanto in the abstract.
The motions, according to the company, highlight several issues that warrant judgment in favor of Monsanto or a new trial including evidence that did not support causation, the plaintiffs efforts to bury the genetic link between Mrs. Pilloid’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and her history of smoking, the arbitrarily ruling out of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma risk factors, the admittance of plaintiffs’ experts that Roundup was no the “But-For” cause, counsel’s repeated attempts to inflame the jury, violations of pre-trial orders, and excessive and unconstitutional punitive damages.
The company said, “the evidence demonstrated that Monsanto’s actions were aligned with regulatory approvals worldwide and failed to prove it acted with ‘malice, oppression or fraud’ as required for a punitive award.”