Federal Court Delays Monsanto Roundup Bellwether Trial Until February 2020

Published on August 7, 2019 by Sandy Liebhard

The federal court overseeing hundreds of Monsanto Roundup lawsuits has delayed an upcoming bellwether trial until February 2020, following a request from the parties for deadline extensions.

Bayer AG, which acquired Monsanto only last year, is currently facing around 18,400 Roundup lawsuits in courts nationwide, all of which blame glyphosate-based herbicides for causing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers. More than 1,300 of these cases are currently undergoing coordinated pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California.

Revised Monsanto Roundup Schedule

According to a Pretrial Order dated August 1st, fact discovery for the first wave of federally filed Monsanto Roundup lawsuits being prepped for remand are now due on September 20th, five weeks later than previously scheduled. Plaintiff’s Experts Reports must be submitted to the Court by October 4th, while Monsanto’s reports are due on October 25th.

Expert discovery for the first-wave cases, which include Roundup lawsuits initially filed in California and Nebraska federal courts, will now close on November 20th. The litigation will convene a Daubert hearing, if needed, on January 29, 2020.

Fact discovery for second-wave lawsuits, which include those originally filed in North Carolina and Illinois, will close on March 22, 2020. The close of expert discovery has been pushed back until June 5th, allowing any potential Daubert Hearing to be held on September 9, 2020.

The next federal Roundup trial will involve claims filed on behalf of Elaine Stavick, who used the weed killer in her herb garden for years prior to being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The case will be the second Monsanto Roundup lawsuit to go before a jury in the Northern District of California.

Monsanto Roundup Verdicts

The first federal bellwether trial concluded earlier this year, with the jury awarding $80 million in compensatory and punitive damages to another long-time Roundup user with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. However, the trial judge later reduced the total award to $55 million, after finding that the punitive portion exceeded limits set by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Two state court cases have also gone to trial over the past year. The first concluded last August, when a jury in San Francisco Superior Court jury awarded $289 million to a former school district groundskeeper with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This past May, a jury in Alameda County Superior Court awarded a total of $2 billion to an elderly married couple, both of whom developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma following decades of Roundup use.

Trial judges in both Monsanto Roundup lawsuits also found punitive damages excessive and reduced the judgments accordingly.

While the second federal bellwether trial is delayed, a case filed in Missouri state court is scheduled to go before a jury beginning August 19th.

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