Los Angeles, California – September 16, 2021 – The Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) has announced that Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman senior shareholder and vice president R. Brent Wisner is a finalist for the organization’s 2021 Consumer Attorney of the Year award.
Each year, CAOC honors an attorney and member of the organization who “significantly advanced the rights or safety of California consumers by achieving a noteworthy result in a case.” The finalists for the 2021 Consumer Attorney of the Year award were handpicked by a committee consisting of CAOC Executive Committee members, previous Consumer Attorney of the Year award winners over the last three years, and six randomly selected members of CAOC’s Board of Directors. CAOC board members will submit secret ballots to determine the award winner after hearing presentations on each case at a September 17, 2021 board meeting.
The 2021 Consumer Attorney of the Year award winner will be announced on November 20, 2021, at CAOC’s 60th Annual Convention.
Consumer Attorneys of California Honor Attorney Wisner’s Work in the Roundup Litigation
CAOC honored Wisner as a finalist for the Consumer Attorney of the Year award for “protecting consumers from a dangerous weedkiller” in the Roundup Products Liability Litigation against Monsanto (now part of Bayer). Thousands of Monsanto Roundup lawsuits allege exposure to the company’s flagship herbicide and one of the most widely-used products in agriculture causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
During litigation, Mr. Wisner and his colleagues de-designated and published court documents showing that Monsanto scientists and executives knew Roundup caused cancer. Rather than informing consumers and the general public, court cases accused the company of covering up the cancer link.
According to the unsealed court documents now known throughout the world as the Monsanto Papers, the agrochemical giant deployed several tactics to conceal the link between Roundup and cancer, including an operation called “Freedom to Operate.” In numerous media interviews discussing the documents, Wisner noted that Monsanto buried its own internal studies linking Roundup to cancer, then ghostwrote “scientific” studies declaring Roundup is safe. When scientists released independent studies that concluded Roundup is dangerous, the company spent millions attacking and “discrediting” them.
According to Wisner, Monsanto did not warn Roundup consumers about wearing protection while spraying even though its own internal studies indicated consumers should wear protective gear. “The label used internally by Monsanto employees even says you need to wear rubber boots, gloves, and a respirator,” Wisner said. “None of that is on the consumer label. They wanted people to believe it was as safe as table salt, even though it was a silent killer.”
In 2018 and 2019, Mr. Wisner won two landmark Roundup trials as co-lead trial counsel, earning roughly $2.4 billion in jury verdicts. He also served on the plaintiffs’ leadership for the consolidated Roundup cases in California state court cases (Roundup JCCP). The court victories laid the groundwork for last year’s $10.9 billion settlements with Bayer to resolve tens of thousands of Roundup cases.
But Mr. Wisner’s advocacy extends beyond the courtroom. He traveled abroad to present the Monsanto Papers to the European Union and Canadian parliaments, worked with California prosecutors to change the Roundup label, and gave talks on the Monsanto litigation at some of the nation’s most prestigious law schools.
These efforts proved impactful, as Monsanto (Bayer) agreed to issue a warning label on Roundup products and remove Roundup from the residential market starting in 2023.
About R. Brent Wisner
R. Brent Wisner is an attorney based in the San Francisco Bay Area. A senior shareholder and vice president at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman, Mr. Wisner focuses his practice on mass tort litigation, pharmaceutical class actions, and consumer fraud cases. His work as co-lead trial counsel in the case of Pilliod et al. v. Monsanto Co. earned a $2.055 billion jury verdict, one of the largest personal injury verdicts in recent history. Just 35 years of age at the time, Mr. Wisner became the youngest attorney ever to obtain a multi-billion-dollar jury verdict.