May 11, 2020 – Los Angeles, California – – Co-lead trial counsel of last year’s $2.055 billion jury verdict against Monsanto has been appointed to the plaintiffs’ leadership in the heartburn medication Zantac litigation.
R. Brent Wisner, an acclaimed trial lawyer from the law firm Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman, was appointed to the Plaintiffs Steering Committee (PSC) and he will co-chair the Bellwether & Trial Team. U.S. District Court Judge Robin L. Rosenberg, who oversees all Zantac cancer cases filed in the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) In Re: Zantac (Ranitidine) Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2924, 20-MD-2924, announced the leadership positions in an order filed late Friday.
Judge Rosenberg interviewed 62 applicants for leadership positions in the MDL. She appointed 26 attorneys from across the nation to various leadership positions and selected 15 of them to represent the plaintiffs’ interests in the PSC. She expressed her gratitude to all counsel who applied for the various positions stating, “It is an enormous personal commitment of time, dedication and resources to lead an MDL of this size and nature.” She appointed Mr. Wisner to co-chair the Bellwether & Trial Team with one other attorney. Earlier this year, Judge Rosenberg appointed Mr. Wisner to the interim Practices and Procedures Team, a small group of lawyers who helped establish the protocols and methodology for litigating the tens of thousands of Zantac cases expected to be filed.
“Zantac manufacturers have known since the early 1980s that the ranitidine molecule is inherently unsafe,” says Mr. Wisner. “They could have and should have pulled the plug on this dangerous drug then, but they didn’t. Now, staring in the face of a cancer epidemic affecting millions of people, we intend to hold the drug manufacturers and facilities responsible and get them to properly compensate our injured clients.”
“It is clear with this appointment that Brent has earned the respect of the courts and his peers through hard-fought legal victories,” says Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman managing partner, Michael Baum. “He’s battle tested, and I’m confident his experience will prove invaluable in successfully resolving these cases for the plaintiffs.”
So far, 230 Zantac lawsuits have been filed in the federal MDL with thousands of other people from across the nation preparing to file claims against the manufacturers of Zantac (ranitidine). The lawsuits allege Zantac contains N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) at levels over 3,000 times greater than the United States Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) legally allowable limit. The FDA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) all classify NDMA as a cancer-causing substance.
On April 1, the FDA requested drug manufacturers to withdraw all Zantac and generic ranitidine drugs from the market effective immediately after determining that levels of NDMA in some ranitidine medications “increases over time and when stored at higher than room temperatures and may result in consumer exposure to unacceptable levels…”
In addition to his roles in the Zantac litigation leadership, Mr. Wisner also serves as Co-Chair of the Zantac Litigation Group for American Association for Justice (AAJ). He has also been an invited guest speaker at several conferences and webinars on mass torts and the ongoing Zantac litigation, including:
- Mass Torts Made Perfect Conference in Las Vegas
- Harris Martin Zantac and MDL Conferences
- Masters of Mass Tort in Cancun
- AAJ Webinar on the Zantac Litigation
- MTMP Connect Webinar on Zantac
- MTMP Connect Zantac Census Plus Webinar
Multi-Billion-Dollar Verdict Lawyer Selected to Join Zantac Litigation Leadership
R. Brent Wisner is the youngest attorney to ever obtain a multi-billion-dollar verdict. In 2019, he co-tried a case against Bayer alleging exposure to a consumer product manufactured by Monsanto (acquired by Bayer in 2018) caused his clients to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma. After weeks of trial proceedings, the jury returned a landmark $2.055 billion verdict, the biggest verdict in California in 2019, the ninth largest in United States history and the third consecutive court loss for Bayer related to its Monsanto product Roundup.
Mr. Wisner also served as co-lead trial counsel in a 2018 case against Bayer, which made similar cancer allegations related to Monsanto products. That case resulted in a $289.2 million jury verdict, one of the largest in the country for 2018. Brent is the only attorney in the country to serve as co-lead trial counsel in two of the first three Roundup trials. In the other case where he was not co-lead, Brent presented a key fact witness and cross-examined many of the corporate witnesses.
In recognition of his skill in these and other landmark cases, Mr. Wisner has received numerous awards and accolades, including:
- 2019 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyer of the Year, National Trial Lawyers and ALM
- Winning Litigators Titans of Industry, 2019, National Law Journal
- Top 40 Under 40 Attorneys in California 2019, Daily Journal
- Top 10 Verdicts and #1 in California, TopVerdicts.com, 2019
- Law360 Titans of the Plaintiffs Bar (lifetime award)
- Daily Journal Top Verdicts 2019 (Pilliod et al., v. Monsanto listed #1)
- 2020 Elite Trial Lawyers Mass Tort Law Firm of the Year Finalist, The National Law Journal and The Trial Lawyer Magazine
- 2019 Trial Lawyer of the Year Finalist, Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles
- 2018 and 2019 Elite Trial Lawyers Mass Tort Trial Team of the Year, The National Law Journal and The Trial Lawyer Magazine
- America’s 50 Most Influential Trial Lawyers 2019, Trial Lawyer Magazine and The National Law Journal
- Top Plaintiffs Lawyers in California 2019, Daily Journal
- Trial Team of the Year 2019, The National Trial Lawyers Top 100
- The Round Table: America’s Most Influential Trial Lawyers 2018, National Trial Lawyers
- Top 100 Lawyers in California 2018, Daily Journal
- Daily Journal Top Verdicts 2018
- Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyer
- Top 10 Verdicts, Personal Injury, TopVerdict.com, 2018