$265 million dicamba weed killer verdict paves way for more successful lawsuits against Monsanto, BASF

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Soybean leaf damaged by dicamba. Image: Chris Bennett/AgWeb

A $265 million verdict …. against two global agribusiness giants [in late February] has now created another legal headache for the companies, building a “road map” to victory for dozens of other suits alleging the weedkiller dicamba damaged their crops, lawyers say.

Dicamba use ramped up in 2016, after the introduction of popular crop varieties, like soybeans, that were genetically engineered by Creve Coeur-based Monsanto to withstand spraying. Soon thereafter, farmers across the Midwest and South began filing complaints saying the drift-prone chemical had wafted off nearby fields and harmed their crops.

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[A]fter a three-week trial that captured widespread attention, jurors ordered Bayer and BASF to pay Bader [Farms] $15 million in compensation and $250 million in punitive damages.

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Bayer faces about 30 other dicamba lawsuits involving around 170 plaintiffs, according to company attorneys. The next case may reach trial late [in 2020]

[Paul Lesko, a St. Louis lawyer who represents dicamba plaintiffs] said the Bader case provides a “road map” of successful arguments that other dicamba lawsuits can follow, including glimpses of certain “hot-button documents” from inside the companies.

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