Sept. 17, 2018 – New Haven, Connecticut — Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman attorneys Michael L. Baum and R. Brent Wisner will participate today in a conference organized by Yale Law School’s Collaboration for Research Integrity and Transparency (CRIT) program.
The conference, Challenging Court Secrecy in Medical Product Litigation, is scheduled to take place at Yale University’s Greenberg Conference Center located at 391 Prospect Street in New Haven, Connecticut.
CRIT’s mission is to promote health by improving the integrity and transparency of biomedical and clinical research. The program leverages diverse research strategies, knowledge and technical skills to achieve the greatest impact in promoting data transparency and access.
Data transparency is an issue that Baum and Wisner have addressed in several areas of practice, including medical product liability litigation and mass torts. Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman is one of the leading plaintiff firms in the nation representing clients in Roundup cancer cases against Monsanto Company. Plaintiffs in these cases allege exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Brent Wisner sits on the leadership for the plaintiffs in the California state court cases against Monsanto, and Michael Baum sits on the leadership in the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) against Monsanto.
In July, the first Monsanto Roundup case proceeded to trial in California with both Baum and Wisner on the trial team (Wisner was co-lead trial counsel). Plaintiff Dewayne “Lee” Johnson filed suit against Monsanto Company in 2016, alleging his non-Hodgkin lymphoma was caused by exposure to the Monsanto weed killer, Ranger Pro, which shares the same active ingredient as Roundup. Lee’s case was the first of its kind to proceed to trial, in part, due to his failing health.
The legal team for Mr. Johnson told the jury Monsanto has known for decades about studies showing DNA damage is caused by Roundup and glyphosate exposure. In 1999, Monsanto had studies reviewed and analyzed internally by a paid consultant who agreed that glyphosate caused DNA damage and therefore could lead to cancer. Instead of pursuing further study on the issue or passing along the consultant’s findings to regulators, Monsanto buried the findings and ghostwrote a different review that conveyed there was no link to cancer. That review has misled the world for 20 years.
After eight weeks of proceedings, the jury awarded Mr. Johnson $39.2 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages. According to the jury, Monsanto acted with malice, oppression or fraud and should be punished for its conduct.
“Every major known carcinogen had a moment like this. A moment when the science finally caught up. When a company could no longer bury it. Where people had to actually look at it and say we have a problem,” said Wisner at a press conference shortly after the verdict was read.
“This case is that moment. There are thousands of cases filed around the United States and there are countless other people out there who are suffering from cancer because Monsanto did not give them a choice…we now have a way forward.”
Baum and Wisner also have years of experience litigating cases against major pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. Both were on the trial team that represented Wendy Dolin in her case against GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
Wendy Dolin’s husband, Stewart, was a prominent Chicago attorney who took his own life in 2010 a few days after he started taking paroxetine, a generic version of Paxil. Mrs. Dolin filed a wrongful death lawsuit against GSK in 2012, alleging GSK had known for decades that Paxil could increase the risk of suicide in adults but never changed its label to reflect that risk.
Following a five-week trial and three days of deliberations, a jury awarded $3 million to Mrs. Dolin, concluding that GSK failed to adequately warn of the adult suicide risks associated with Paxil and that GSK’s negligence caused the July 2010 suicide of Stewart Dolin.
About the Collaboration for Research Integrity and Transparency (CRIT) Program
CRIT is an inter-disciplinary initiative launched in 2016 to enhance the quality and transparency of the research base for medical products. Through research, advocacy, and litigation, CRIT focuses on ensuring that the clinical evidence which supports the safety and effectiveness of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and medical products is accurate, comprehensive, accessible, and reliable.
The lack of transparency and integrity in clinical research has had severe consequences for both patients and clinicians. CRIT believes the current legal structures and research practices are not adequate. To counter this issue, efforts to improve clinical research transparency and reporting are needed.
By influencing those engaged in clinical research and translating their findings for clinical care, CRIT aims to focus and magnify the impact of their and others’ scholarship, policy analysis and legal action, to advance the field of research integrity, open science, and public discourse.
About Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman
The national law firm of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman is recognized as a preeminent plaintiff firm that litigates cases involving harmful consumer products, commercial transportation accidents, mass torts, class actions, pharmaceutical and medical device products liability, and whistleblower claims. Our attorneys have resolved thousands of cases and recovered more than $1.9 billion on behalf of clients across all areas of practice.