Hardeman v. Monsanto Co.

Hardeman v. Monsanto Co.

Baum Hedlund Assists with Bellwether Case on Monsanto’s Roundup

Edwin Hardeman v. Monsanto Co. was the first federal Roundup cancer lawsuit to proceed to trial before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria. The trial was 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 was the second Roundup cancer case to go to trial against Monsanto, and eventually, a jury awarded Edwin Hardeman $80 million in damages.

In August of 2018, the first Roundup cancer trial, a California state court case, resulted in a $289.2 million jury verdict – thanks to the efforts of the plaintiff’s attorneys, which included R. Brent Wisner of Baum Hedlund. 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.

3/23/2020 update: Amicus Brief of Center for Food Safety and the Center for Biological Diversity in Support of Plaintiff-Appellee Edwin Hardeman.

12/13/2019 update: Monsanto filed an appeal of the Hardeman verdict in the U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit.

7/17/2019 update: Amended Judgment. The judge reduced Mr. Hardeman’s verdict to $25.2M.

7/15/2019 update: Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Monsanto’s Motion for Judgment on Punitive Damages, Denying Monsanto’s Motion for New Trial on Compensatory Damages

7/12/2019 update: Order Denying Monsanto’s Motions for Judgment and New Trial

Looking for unsealed Monsanto emails, communications, studies and other memoranda? View the Monsanto Papers.

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.

  1. Dr. Portier video deposition transcript taken on 2/21/19 and 2/22/19 and played at Hardeman trial
  2. Dr. Portier video deposition transcript taken on 2/23/19 and played at Hardeman trial
  3. Link to video footage of Dr. Portier’s 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: 3/4/19Proceedings without jury present.

Day 6: 3/5/19Dr.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: 3/6/19Dr. 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: 3/8/2019William 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: 3/11/2019Dr. 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: 3/12/2019Dr. 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 (see above). Mr. Reeves is Global Health and Safety Issues Management Lead at Bayer Crop Science.

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

Day 16: 3/22/2019 Donna Farmer video testimony (continued)

Dr. Chadi Nabhan direct examination by Aimee Wagstaff. Dr. Nabhan is a board-certified clinical medical oncologist and past Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago.

Edwin Hardeman direct examination by Jennifer Moore. Cross-examination by Brian Stekloff. Redirect examination by Jennifer Moore.

Mary Hardeman direct examination by Jennifer Moore. Mrs. Hardeman is Edwin Hardeman’s wife.

Day 17: 3/25/2019 – William Heydens video deposition (Monsanto Regulatory Product Safety Assessment Lead. See above)

Christopher Portier video deposition (former director U.S. ATSDR. See above.)

Larry Kier video deposition (Monsanto consultant)

Samuel Murphey video deposition (Head of Global Issues Management, Bayer Crop Science)

Michael Koch video deposition (Product Safety Team Lead, Bayer Crop Science)

Hugh Grant video deposition (Monsanto Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, 2003-2018)

James Guard video deposition (Global Roundup Lawn & Garden Lead, Bayer Crop Science)

Day 18: 3/26/2019Christopher Portier video deposition

Plaintiff rests

Defendant rests

Final Jury Instructions

Closing argument for the plaintiff by Jennifer Moore

Closing argument for the defense by Brian Stekloff

Rebuttal argument by Jennifer Moore

Day 19: 3/27/2019 – Verdict

Hardeman v. Monsanto Company Trial Exhibits

Donna Farmer Trial Exhibits
Daniel Goldstein Trial Exhibits
James Guard Trial Exhibits
Edwin Hardeman Trial Exhibits
William Heydens Trial Exhibits
Larry Kier Trial Exhibits
Michael Koch Trial Exhibits
Mark Martens Trial Exhibits
Portier, Dr. Christopher Depo Exhibits
William Reeves Trial Exhibits
Beate Ritz Trial Exhibits
Roger Turk Trial Exhibits
Richard Turley Trial Exhibits
Dennis Weisenburger Trial Exhibits
Jeffrey Ye Trial Exhibits
  • Hardeman v. Monsanto Co. $80 Million
  • Dewayne “Lee” Johnson v. Monsanto Co. $289.2 Million
  • Pilliod et al. v, Monsanto Co. $2 Billion
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