Hall of Fame | National Law Journal

Baum Hedlund Honored in Verdicts Hall of Fame

Dec. 15, 2020 - Los Angeles, California - - The National Law Journal (NLJ), VerdictSearch, and ALM (formerly American Lawyer Media) have honored Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman in this year’s Verdicts Hall of Fame for earning the second-highest verdict in the practice area of product liability.

The Verdicts Hall of Fame list reflects the highest-grossing verdicts for several practice areas reported to VerdictSearch. The current list includes verdicts obtained between 2015 and 2019. The case of Pilliod et al. v. Monsanto Company, which culminated on May 13, 2019 with a $2.055 billion jury verdict, was the second-highest product liability jury verdict featured in the Verdicts Hall of Fame.

Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman Vice President and Senior Shareholder R. Brent Wisner served as co-lead trial counsel in the Pilliod case. The firm’s managing partner Michael L. Baum and attorney Pedram Esfandiary served on the trial team. The Miller Firm, Audet & Partners, and the Brady Law Group were also featured for their outstanding legal work in the Pilliod case.

The Pilliod verdict was the highest jury verdict in the state of California in 2019, the second-highest jury verdict in the United States for 2019, and the ninth-largest personal injury jury verdict in U.S. history.

In addition to the National Law Journal’s Verdicts Hall of Fame selection, Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman was recognized in the following publications for its work on the Pilliod case.

  • 2020 Elite Trial Lawyers Mass Tort Law Firm of the Year, Finalist, NLJ and ALM
  • Top 100 Verdicts 2019, National Law Journal, VerdictSearch and ALM
  • Daily Journal Top Verdicts of 2019
  • Number 1 Verdict in California in 2019, Topverdict.com
  • Top 10 Verdicts in the United States in 2019, Topverdict.com

Award-Winning Plaintiff Attorneys in Pilliod et al. v. Monsanto Co.

From the Miller Firm LLC

  • Michael Miller (co-lead trial counsel)
  • Nancy Miller
  • Curtis G. Hoke
  • David J. Dickens
  • Jeffrey Travers

From Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman PC

From Audet & Partners LLP

  • Mark Burton

From Brady Law Group

  • Steven J. Brady

National Law Journal Honors Pilliod Legal Team for Second-Highest Product Liability Verdict (2015 – 2019)

Plaintiffs Alva and Alberta Pilliod are a California couple who used Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer for decades to landscape their home and other properties. Mr. and Mrs. Pilliod were both diagnosed with the same type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). In their lawsuit, the couple alleged that their cancers were caused by exposure to Roundup.

During the trial, the Pilliod legal team presented evidence demonstrating Monsanto Co.’s manipulation of scientific literature, including ghostwriting of several review papers on a key Roundup ingredient, glyphosate, published in scientific journals and cited in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory reviews.

The jury also saw documents showing Monsanto’s efforts to influence EPA and other regulatory agencies, as well as evidence that the company ran a public relations campaign to plant favorable stories in Reuters and other media outlets to defend its products and discredit scientists who determined glyphosate was linked to cancer.

After roughly seven weeks of trial proceedings, the jury in Pilliod found that exposure to Roundup caused Mr. and Mrs. Pilliod to develop cancer and that Monsanto failed to warn of this severe health hazard. The jury also found that Monsanto acted with malice, oppression, or fraud and should be punished for its conduct.

The jury verdict in Pilliod helped pave the way for settlements in principle between Bayer (acquired Monsanto in 2018) and a select few law firms in the Roundup cancer litigation. Announced in June of 2020, the agreements would resolve thousands of cases for a total of around $11 billion.

The agreements were reached after more than a year of negotiations and three consecutive trial losses for Bayer. Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman attorney R. Brent Wisner, who served as co-lead trial counsel in two of the Roundup cases to go before juries, was also an integral part of the settlement negotiations with Bayer.

“Over the last four years, as we have pressed this litigation forward despite innumerable obstacles, we have had tremendous success in a few important cases,” Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman said in a statement after news of the Roundup settlement was released. “But, those successes have been tempered with the fact that many of our clients continue to suffer from the consequences of cancer. This settlement is for everyone and should help our clients rebuild and move forward in a meaningful way.”

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