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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 3/19/19

Monsanto CA Judge Worked for Firm That Defended Monsanto's Bovine Growth Hormone; 3rd Trial starting March 25

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March 14, 2019 Trial & Jury Day Off

Jurors have the day off today but the lawyers do not. Chhabria is holding a hearing with attorneys for both sides at 12:30 pm Pacific time to discuss the scope of the second phase, if a second phase is held.

Among the issues to be discussed, plaintiff's lawyers are renewing their request to be able to present testimony about Monsanto's efforts to discredit French scientist Gilles-Éric Se'ralini after publication of his 2012 study findings about rats fed water dosed with Roundup. Internal Monsanto records show a coordinated effort to get the Seralini paper retracted, including this email string.

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Monsanto employees apparently were so proud of what they called a "multimedia event that was designed for maximum negative publicity" against Seralini that they designated it as an "achievement" worth recognition.

Evidence demonstrates "that the Se'ralini story is central to Monsanto's failure to test as well as its efforts to manipulate public opinion," Edwin Hardeman's attorneys argue. As well, they say in their court filing, "the testimony reveals that Monsanto responded to the study by attempting to undermine and discredit Dr. Se'ralini, which is further evidence "that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer," but "[focuses] instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue." "

"The Se'ralini Story is Relevant to Monsanto's Efforts to Undermine Scientists Raising Concerns about Glyphosate," Hardeman's attorneys argue.

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Lawyers for Hardeman want expert witness Charles Benbrook to be allowed to testify about this example of Monsanto's corporate conduct "post-use," meaning actions by Monsanto that took place after Hardeman stopped using Roundup.

Judge Chhabria earlier ruled that the evidence regarding efforts to discredit Seralini could not be introduced because those efforts took place after Hardeman's Roundup use ended and so would not have impacted him.

On Wednesday, Chhabria also ruled that evidence of Monsanto's efforts to discredit the International Agency for Research on Cancer after it classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen would be excluded from a second phase of the trial because it took place after Hardeman's Roundup use ended.

Even as both sides prepare for a second phase, the lack of a quick jury decision does not bode well for Hardeman. His attorneys were hoping for a quick unanimous decision by the jurors in their favor. Any decision by the jury must be unanimous or the case can be declared a mistrial.

March 13, 2019 Jury Deliberating

(UPDATE 5:45 p.m. Pacific time Jury has retired for the evening with no verdict. Deliberations to resume Friday.)

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Judge Chhabria instructed lawyers for both sides to be ready to present opening statements for the second phase of the trial today if jurors come back this morning with a verdict. The second phase only occurs, however, if the jurors first find unanimously for plaintiff Edwin Hardeman in the first phase, which dealt solely with the question of causation.

The question that must be answered on the jury verdict form is fairly straightforward:

Did Mr. Hardeman prove by a preponderance of the evidence that his exposure to Roundup was a substantial factor in causing his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?

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