Edwin Hardeman v. Monsanto Company | Federal MDL Bellwether Trial 2019-03-21T22:20:07+00:00

Edwin Hardeman v. Monsanto Company | Federal MDL Bellwether Trial

Edwin Hardeman v. Monsanto Co. is the first federal Roundup cancer lawsuit to proceed to trial before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria. The trial is a bellwether case for more than 1,600 other plaintiffs with lawsuits consolidated in San Francisco’s  Federal Court, all alleging that exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and its active ingredient, glyphosate, cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). This is the second Roundup cancer case to go to trial against Monsanto.

In August of 2018, the first Roundup cancer trial, a California state court case, resulted in a $289.2 million jury verdict. However, the judge overseeing the trial of Dewayne “Lee” Johnson v. Monsanto Co. later reduced the damage award to $78.5 million. Monsanto (now Bayer) filed an appeal shortly thereafter.

Hardeman mosanto lawsuit trial

Quick link to trial transcripts

Quick link to Hardeman trial press release

If you are looking for unsealed Monsanto emails, communications, studies and other memoranda, please visit the Monsanto Papers page.

Edwin Hardeman, 70, and his wife spent decades living in Sonoma County, California, on 56 acres of land previously used as an exotic animal refuge. He started using Monsanto herbicides to treat poison oak, overgrowth, and weeds on his property in 1986 and continued using Roundup through 2012. Mr. Hardeman was diagnosed with B-cell NHL in February of 2015, about a month before the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate, a key ingredient in Roundup, as a “probable human carcinogen.”

Roughly a year after his diagnosis, Mr. Hardeman retained the law firm of Andrus Wagstaff and filed a lawsuit against Monsanto Co. on Feb. 12, 2016. Judge Chhabria selected his case as the first out of hundreds of other Monsanto Roundup cancer cases in the MDL to go before a jury.

In January of 2019, Judge Chhabria decided to grant Monsanto’s request to bifurcate Mr. Hardeman’s trial. Bifurcation creates two phases for trial.

The first phase addresses evidence relevant to causation, specifically, whether or not Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide significantly contributed to Mr. Hardeman developing NHL. If the jury finds that exposure to Roundup significantly contributed to Mr. Hardeman’s cancer, the case proceeds to the second phase, which focuses on Monsanto’s knowledge, conduct and damages (both compensatory and punitive).

Aimee Wagstaff (lead trial counsel) of Andrus Wagstaff and Jennifer Moore of Moore Law Group represent Mr. Hardeman. R. Brent Wisner of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman will conduct direct examination of Dr. Christopher Portier, one of the plaintiff’s expert witnesses. Mr. Wisner served as co-lead trial counsel in Johnson v. Monsanto.

Edwin Hardeman v. Monsanto Company Trial Transcripts

Day 1: 2/25/19Plaintiff opening statement by Aimee H. Wagstaff and defense opening statement by Brian L. Stekloff. Aimee Wagstaff begins direct examination of Beate Ritz, MD, PhD, Chair of the Epidemiology Department at UCLA.

Dr. Ritz is a professor of Epidemiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.  She holds doctoral degrees in Medicine and Epidemiology. She is the author of numerous toxicology publications, lectures and presentations. Dr. Ritz engaged in a systematic review of the literature in this case, utilized the Bradford Hill Criteria and concluded that “to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, glyphosate causes NHL. Furthermore, to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, glyphosate-based formulations, including Roundup, cause NHL.”

She received her MD and a PhD in Medical Sociology from the University of Hamburg Germany in 1983 and 1987 and received doctoral training and a PhD degree in Epidemiology in 1995 from UCLA.

Dr. Ritz Expert Report

Day 2: 2/26/19Dr. Ritz direct examination by Aimee Wagstaff. Dr. Ritz cross-examination by Tamarra Matthews Johnson. Dr. Ritz redirect examination by Aimee Wagstaff. Video deposition of Daniel Goldstein (Monsanto Lead Medical Sciences and Outreach).

Day 3: 2/27/19Dr. Christopher Portier, former Director of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, direct examination by Brent Wisner via video testimony.

Dr. Portier holds a Ph.D. in Biostatistics (with a minor in Epidemiology). For over three decades, Dr. Portier held prominent leadership positions in the U.S. government that combined the disciplines of toxicology, statistics and epidemiology, including:

  • Associate Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) National Toxicology Program and thus the nation’s chief toxicologist, among other roles at NIEHS.
  • Director of the National Center for Environmental Health, Center for Disease and Prevention.
  • Director of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

Dr. Portier conducted a systematic review of the literature in this case, utilized the Bradford Hill Criteria, and concluded, “[i]n my opinion, glyphosate probably causes NHL and, given the human, animal and experimental evidence, I assert that, to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, the probability that glyphosate causes NHL is high.”

Dr. Portier Expert Report

Open Letter to Mr. Vytenis Andriukaitis Commissioner Health & Food Safety European Commission Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat: Review of the Carcinogenicity of Glyphosate by EFSA and BfR by Dr. Christopher J. Portier (corresponding author), signed by 95 scientists

Open Letter to Jean Claude Juncker President, European Commission European Commission (cc to EPA): Review of the Carcinogenicity of Glyphosate by EChA, EFSA and BfR by Dr. Christopher J. Portier

Day 4: 3/1/19 – Dr. Christopher Portier cross examination by Paul Schmidt and redirect examination by Brent Wisner via video testimony. Roger Turk video testimony. Richard Turley video testimony. Jeffrey Ye video testimony.

Dr. Roger Turk is Edwin Hardeman’s family physician, Dr. Richard Turley diagnosed Mr. Hardeman’s NHL, and Dr. Jeffrey Ye treated Mr. Hardeman’s NHL.

Day 5: 3/4/19 – Proceedings without jury present.

Day 6: 3/5/19 – Dr. Christopher Portier video testimony (continued). Plaintiff Edwin Hardeman direct examination by Jennifer Moore. No cross examination. Direct examination of Dr. Dennis Weisenburger, Chair of the Pathology Department of the City of Hope Medical Center.

Dr. Weisenburger specializes in the studies of the hematopoietic and immune systems, with a special interest in non-Hodgkin lymphoma. His study of the pathological mechanisms by which NHL develops began in the 1980s when he was directing large epidemiologic studies related to NHL.

Over the last four decades, Dr. Weisenburger has published over 300 papers on NHL in peer-reviewed journals, and over 50 papers on the epidemiology of NHL, including studies on glyphosate and NHL. Dr. Weisenburger engaged in a systematic review of the literature regarding glyphosate, utilized the Bradford Hill Criteria, and concluded that to “a reasonable degree of medical certainty that glyphosate and GBFs [glyphosate-based formulations] (including Roundup) can cause NHL in humans exposed to these chemicals in the workplace or environment.”

Dr. Weisenburger Expert Report

Day 7: 3/6/19 – Dr. Weisenburger testimony (continued). Direct examination by Jennifer Moore. Cross-examination by Brian Stekloff. Redirect examination by Jennifer Moore. Recross-examination by Brian Stekloff.

William Reeves (Monsanto representative) video testimony. Mr. Reeves is Global Health and Safety Issues Management Lead at Bayer Crop Science.

Day 8: 3/8/2019 – William Reeves video testimony (continued). Donna Farmer (Monsanto representative) video testimony. Ms. Farmer is a toxicologist for Monsanto (now Bayer).

Defense expert witness, Dr. Lorelei Mucci, direct examination by Matthews Johnson. Cross-examination by Aimee Wagstaff. Redirect examination by Matthews Johnson.

Dr. Mucci is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Defense expert witness, Dr. Alexandra Levine, direct examination by Brian Stekloff.

Dr. Levine is a professor in City of Hope’s Hematologic Malignancies and Stem Cell Transplantation Institute.

Day 9: 3/11/2019 – Dr. Levine direct examination by Brian Stekloff (continued). Cross-examination by Jennifer Moore. Redirect examination by Brian Stekloff. Recross-examination by Jennifer Moore.

Defense expert witness, Dr. Daniel Arber, direct examination by Rakesh Kilaru.

Dr. Arber is the Chair of Pathology at the University of Chicago.

Day 10: 3/12/2019 – Dr. Daniel Arber direct examination by Rakesh Kilaru (continued). Cross-examination by Jennifer Moore.

 Jury instructions. Plaintiff’s closing argument by Aimee Wagstaff. Defendant’s closing argument by Brian Stekloff. Rebuttal argument by Aimee Wagstaff.

Day 11: 3/14/2019 – Proceedings without jury present.

Day 12: 3/15/2019 – Proceedings without jury present.

Day 13: 3/18/2019 – Proceedings with and without jury present

Day 14: 3/19/2019 – Proceedings include jury verdict reached in favor of plaintiff for Phase 1.

Phase 2 – Liability and Damages

Day 15: 3/20/2019 Opening statement by Aimee Wagstaff. Opening statement by Brian Stekloff.

Mark Martens video testimony. Mr. Martens worked as Monsanto’s Toxicology Director, Europe/Africa from 1994 to approximately 2004.

William Reeves video testimony. Mr. Reeves is Global Health and Safety Issues Management Lead at Bayer Crop Science.

Donna Farmer video testimony. Ms. Farmer is a toxicologist for Monsanto (now Bayer)