Dewayne Johnson v. Monsanto : verdict is confirmed

  October 23, 2018

Octobre 22, 2018 – Following the exemplary trial and the historic verdict around Roundup, which ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million in punitive and compensatory damages for failing to warn consumers that exposure to Roundup herbicides causes cancer, the company challenged the verdict and sent two motions to court in which it asked Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos of the San Francisco Superior Court to revoke the August verdict, order a new trial or reduce the damages.

The hearings of the lawyers of both parties took place on 10 October, under great tension due to the judge’s tentative decision, written before the hearings, to reconsider the unanimous judgment of the jurors, to overturn the punitive damages and to provide for a new trial. During the hearings, Judge Bolanos mulled about the possibility of issuing an order reducing the verdict to less than $9 million.

But on Monday, October 22, the federal judge rejected the motion for a Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict and upheld the verdict of the jurors who considered that Roundup had contributed to Dewayne Johnson’s cancer. However, it also decided to reduce the punitive damages against the company from $250 million to $39 million, the equivalent of the compensatory damages.

She gives Dewayne Johnson until December 7 to decide whether to accept this reduction in total damages from $289 million to $78 million. Without his explicit agreement on that date, the judge’s decision will be considered as refused and Monsanto’s motion for a new trial will be granted.

Dewayne Johnson and his lawyers will now reflect on how to proceed with this decision. According to them, “Although we believe a reduction in punitive damages was unwarranted and we are weighing the options, we are pleased the Court did not disturb the verdict… We are still reviewing whether we will accept the proposed remittitur or retry the punitive damages. That said, today is a triumph for our legal system.”

Bayer, which bought Monsanto, announced that it would appeal the verdict and damages.