Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman trial attorney and vice president R. Brent Wisner has earned a spot on the Daily Journal’s Top Plaintiffs Lawyers list for the third consecutive year. This year, the Daily Journal featured Attorney Wisner’s work in helping to negotiate a blockbuster settlement with Bayer AG (acquired Monsanto) to settle tens of thousands of Roundup cancer cases for over $10 billion. Wisner also helped negotiate last year’s $39.5 million Roundup class action settlement and was an attorney of record in the litigation.
The Daily Journal is one of the leading legal publications in the country. Each year, the Daily Journal honors attorneys in its Top Plaintiff Lawyers list who “consistently force broad change in the law, industry, and society.”
Daily Journal Names Attorney Wisner to Top Plaintiff Lawyers List 2021
The Top Plaintiff Lawyers 2021 received recognition for legal victories in 2020. While the Covid-19 pandemic halted many civil legal proceedings, Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman actively participated in negotiations with Bayer to settle thousands of pending Roundup cancer cases.
On June 20, 2020, Bayer announced settlements in principle with Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman and several other plaintiffs firms leading the Roundup cancer litigation. The cases against Bayer, which acquired Monsanto in 2018, alleged exposure to the company’s Roundup weed killer causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The settlement agreements, which came after more than a year of negotiations and three consecutive trial losses for Bayer, resolved tens of thousands of pending cases for more than $10 billion. R. Brent Wisner was one of a select few lawyers to negotiate the Roundup settlements with Bayer. He was also an integral part of the settlement negotiations. With Bayer known primarily as a pharmaceutical company, Fierce Pharma called the agreement “the largest settlement in pharma history.”
Before the settlements, Attorney Wisner earned two legal victories against Bayer as co-lead trial counsel in Johnson v. Monsanto Companyand Pilliod et al. v. Monsanto Company. In Johnson, Brent won a $289 million verdict for the plaintiff, Dewayne “Lee” Johnson. Monsanto appealed the verdict, and Brent assisted with writing the appeal brief and helped prepare for argument. While the total damages were reduced to $20.5 million, the California Courts of Appeal First Appellate District denied Monsanto’s bid to overturn the verdict. The company declined to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, and as a result, the litigation is now closed.
In Pilliod, Brent obtained a $2.055 billion jury verdict, which was the ninth-largest personal injury jury verdict in United States history at the time. The verdict was later reduced to $87 million, and the case is currently on appeal.
In addition to the Roundup cancer settlement, Attorney Wisner was also one of the attorneys of record representing the plaintiffs in the Roundup class action, which accused Monsanto and ScottsMiracle-Gro of illegal marketing, distribution, sale, and promotion of Roundup products.
The class action specifically alleged that a statement appearing on some Roundup labels that glyphosate, a key ingredient, “targets an enzyme found in plants but not in people or pets,” is false and misleading. During the discovery phase of litigation, Brent got Monsanto to concede that glyphosate does influence an enzyme in the human gut biome, which could lead to significant health effects. He also conducted several depositions, including two of Monsanto itself, that forced Monsanto into a posture where a settlement made sense.
Last year, Bayer agreed to resolve the class action for $39.5M. As part of the proposed settlement, the statement above will no longer appear on applicable Roundup labels.
About R. Brent Wisner
R. Brent Wisner is one of the lead trial attorneys at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman. He manages a highly-trained team of attorneys on all facets of litigation—from briefing, expert discovery, trial, and appeal. After earning two massive verdicts against Monsanto, he has received dozens of major awards and recognition from many of the leading legal publications in the country. As the youngest attorney ever to win a multi-billion-dollar jury verdict, Brent has earned a reputation as one of the nation’s top trial lawyers.