Dewayne Johnson v. Monsanto (Appeal)

A155940 // A156706 // S264158
November 20, 2018
Final judgment
United States, State of California

Technicians and Professional users
Dewayne Johnson
Curtis G. Hoke, David J. Dickens, R. Brent Wisner, Pedram Esfandiary, Michael L. Baum, Mark Burton, Steven Brady, Michael J. Miller

Civil court
Herbicide, Roundup, Glyphosate, Ranger Pro
Compensatory and punitive damages ; awarding Plaintiffs their costs, expenses, and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in this matter; further relief as the Court deems just and proper.
Court of Appeal of State of California, United States
Appellate (Appeal) Court

July 20, 2020
Partially Positive
In A155940, the judgment as to Johnson’s future noneconomic compensatory damages is reversed. The jury’s future noneconomic compensatory damages award is reduced to $4 million, which results in a total reduced award of $10,253,209.32 in compensatory damages. The judgment is further modified to reduce the award of punitive damages to $10,253,209.32. In A156706, the order awarding costs is affirmed.

The lawsuit challenges Monsanto’s position that its herbicides are proven safe and asserts that the company has known about the dangers and hidden them from regulators and the public (CGC-16-550128). Verdict has been pronounced on August 10, 2018. On October 22, the judge confirms the verdict, but lowers the punitive damages from $250 million to $39 million. On 20/11/2018, Monsanto appeals the judgment. Johnson cross-appeals, seeking reinstatement of the full jury award. Hearing is June 2, 2020. The appeals court had notifyied that the lawyers should be prepared to focus on the question of damages awarded. On 7/20/2020, the Court of Appeal says that Monsanto’s arguments were unpersuasive, but damages should be cut to $20.5 million. On 8/4/2020, Monsanto seeks rehearing by appeals court after losing appeal, to reduce the future noneconomic damages and punitive damages. On 8/18/2020, the appeals court rejects Monsanto’s effort to trim $4 million from the damages and its request for a rehearing of the matter. On 8/28/2020, Dewayne Johnson files a petition for review to the Supreme Court to restore $250 million in punitive damages awarded by the jury but then slashed by the appeals court to $20.5 million while Monsanto asks the California Supreme Court to upend the state appeals court decision backing the jury's finding that the company is liable. On 10/21/2020, the California Supreme Court denies Monsanto's petition for review. On March 23, 2021, Bayer announces that it desists from appeal and won’t seek U.S. Supreme Court review of the verdict finding its Roundup herbicide caused cancer. It said that this decision was made after “careful and extensive consideration,” and reflects a legal strategy to end the state court case and instead focus on the second Roundup verdict, in federal court (Hardeman v. Monsanto).