The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to propose a ban on specific…
In yet another signal of what’s to come, Bayer AG announced on March 19 that it would not seek a review of a $20.6 million verdict awarded to Dewayne Johnson—a former school groundskeeper from California who regularly used the product and was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. A California jury originally ordered Monsanto to pay Johnson $289 million.
In a statement, Bayer said its decision not to get the verdict reviewed by the high court was made after “careful and extensive consideration.” Bayer-Monsanto’s decision to do so ends Johnson’s case. However, the company believes that its product is still safe and will use another case that it believes is “better suited” to be reviewed by the Supreme Court.
What case does Bayer-Monsanto want before the Supreme Court?
The company is planning to take Edwin Hardeman’s $25 million verdict to the Supreme Court. The Hardeman case is currently pending in the Ninth Circuit. The company gave the following statement:
“Several factors contribute to making the Johnson case a less desirable candidate for Supreme Court review, including that the underlying opinion was issued by an intermediate level state court and the portion dealing with the key issue of federal preemption is unpublished, and thus will have no bearing on any case besides Johnson.”
The Hardeman case, however, is favorable to the company because the appellate court is expected to release a decision that addresses the most significant issues in the litigation.
The evolution of the Johnson verdict
Bayer acquired Monsanto in June 2018 for $63 billion. Amidst the acquisition period, the company began seeing an avalanche of lawsuits filed against it.
The first to go to trial was Dewayne Johnson just two months after the acquisition in August 2018. This trial resulted in a $289 million verdict, which was later reduced to $20.6 million. The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the Johnson verdict in October 2020.
Since the Johnson verdict, there have been over 100,000 people across the country that have filed claims against the company.
The Johnson case was grounded in science and careful application of California law.
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