Oct. 21, 2019 – Los Angeles, California – – Attorneys Michael L. Baum and R. Brent Wisner from the national law firm of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman were selected to the Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers list for 2019.
Michael Baum, president and managing shareholder at Baum Hedlund, and Brent Wisner, the firm’s vice president, received the Lawdragon Top 500 distinction for dutifully serving clients and obtaining results in personal injury claims.
Lawdragon is a renowned media company that covers the biggest news in the legal industry and publishes guides to the most elite lawyers in the United States. Lawdragon’s editorial team selected honorees based on submissions, journalistic research, and editorial vetting from a board of fellow lawyers. Those named to the Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers list have a proven track record of success in securing verdicts and settlements on behalf of their clients and maintaining excellent peer review ratings.
Monsanto Roundup Lawyers Named to Lawdragon 500 List
Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman is one of the leading firms in the Monsanto Roundup litigation in which plaintiffs allege exposure to Roundup caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Three Roundup lawsuits have proceeded to trial, resulting in groundbreaking victories for the plaintiffs:
- Dewayne “Lee” Johnson v. Monsanto Company
- Edwin Hardeman v. Monsanto Company
- Pilliod et al. v. Monsanto Company
Brent Wisner served as co-lead trial counsel in Johnson and Pilliod et al. He also served on the trial team in Hardeman, presenting one of the vital fact witnesses (Dr. Christopher Portier) and cross-examining many of the corporate witnesses. Additionally, Brent is administrator and co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the Roundup Judicial Council Coordination Proceedings (JCCP). Many of the Roundup cases filed in California state courts are consolidated in the Roundup JCCP.
Michael Baum and his team assisted in all three trials by presenting and preparing experts, corporate testimony, and documents. Michael is a member of the executive committee for the federal Monsanto Roundup multidistrict litigation (MDL). More than 1,290 cases filed in federal courts are consolidated in the MDL before U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria.
$289 Million Jury Verdict in Johnson v. Monsanto Co.
Johnson v. Monsanto Co. was the first Roundup lawsuit to proceed to trial. Plaintiff Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, a former groundskeeper for the Benicia School District in Northern California, alleged exposure to Roundup herbicides caused him to develop terminal non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
On Aug. 10, 2018, the jury found that exposure to Roundup caused Mr. Johnson’s cancer and that Monsanto failed to warn of this severe health hazard. Additionally, the jury found that Monsanto acted with malice, oppression, or fraud and should be punished for its conduct.
The damages award of $289.2 million was the second-highest plaintiff verdict in California last year.
Months after the historic jury verdict, the punitive damages were later reduced to $39.25 million, bringing the total damages award to $78.5 million. The case is currently on appeal.
$80 Million Jury Verdict in Hardeman v. Monsanto Co.
Hardeman v. Monsanto Co. was the first federal Roundup cancer lawsuit to proceed to trial before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria (Johnson was a state court case). The trial was the first bellwether for plaintiffs with lawsuits consolidated in the federal Monsanto Roundup multidistrict litigation (MDL).
On March 27, 2019, the jury awarded Mr. Hardeman $80 million, finding that exposure to Roundup was a substantial factor in causing his cancer. Judge Chhabria later reduced the punitive damages to $20 million, bringing the total damages award to $25.3 million. Monsanto has indicated it will file an appeal.
$2 Billion Jury Verdict in Pilliod et al. v. Monsanto Co.
Pilliod et al. v. Monsanto Co. was the third Monsanto Roundup lawsuit to proceed to trial. Alva and Alberta Pilliod, a couple in their 70s, alleged exposure to Roundup caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
After seven weeks of trial proceedings, the jury returned a verdict on May 13, 2019, awarding $2.055 billion to the plaintiffs, finding that exposure to Roundup caused the Pilliods’ cancer and that Monsanto failed to warn consumers of this severe health hazard. The jury also found that Monsanto acted with malice, oppression, or fraud and should be punished for its conduct.
Monsanto Roundup Litigation’s Impact Outside the Courtroom
Roundup weed killer is one of the most ubiquitous products in agriculture. It is sprayed in parks, playgrounds, schools, and along highways, among many other places. Roundup residue can be found in nearly all non-organic foods.
For decades, Monsanto has maintained that Roundup and its key ingredient, glyphosate, is safe. A Roundup advertisement once characterized the product as safer than table salt.
Prior to, during and after the first three Monsanto trials, Michael Baum, Brent Wisner, and others in the litigation worked to declassify and publish multiple internal Monsanto documents now known as the “Monsanto Papers.”
Since 2017, Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman has sent declassified Monsanto documents to legislators, regulators, journalists, and others. The Monsanto Papers, as well as deposition and trial transcripts, exhibits, and expert reports from the first three Monsanto cases, captured worldwide attention and have been the subject of countless investigative journalism articles.
In light of their knowledge and grasp of these internal documents and scientific understanding of Roundup’s mechanism of inducing cancer, Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman attorneys were invited to brief the press and Members of Parliament in the European Union. Advocacy groups invited the attorneys to Canada to discuss the country’s regulatory stance on glyphosate and meet with Members of Parliament and the media. They have also been invited to speak about the Roundup litigation at Harvard, Yale, UCLA, and elsewhere.
The Monsanto Papers, magnified by the verdicts in the first three Roundup trials, have changed the approval of Roundup in the European Union and led to legislative investigations worldwide. Many cities and communities across the world have banned glyphosate following the verdicts and release of the Monsanto Papers.
About Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman
Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman is a national law firm that has successfully handled thousands of cases and secured over $4 billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients. With over 40 years of experience litigating personal injury and wrongful death cases, the firm has developed a reputation for holding Fortune 500 companies accountable, raising public awareness, influencing public policy, and improving product safety.
If you were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after exposure to Roundup weed killer and would like more information about whether you might have a potential Roundup lawsuit, please contact Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman.