Environmental pollution attorneys Weitz & Luxenberg are applauding the decision by a federal jury in Cape Girardeau to award $250 million in punitive damages and $15 million in compensatory damages to Bader Farms for irreparable harm done to their peach orchard by the herbicide dicamba.
The lawsuit, the first ruling in the U.S. regarding dicamba herbicides, alleged that vapor from the weed killer, which was sprayed on nearby farms, drifted onto and killed peach trees on Bader’s 1,000-acre property. The jury found Monsanto (a subsidiary of Bayer AG) and BASF, the makers of dicamba, liable for negligent design of the product and failure to warn users about its risks.
“On behalf of the thousands of farmers whose crops have been harmed by these chemicals, we applaud the jurors for holding these companies accountable for creating and marketing a product that they knew was not safe,” said James Bilsborrow, attorney in the Environmental and Consumer Protection Unit at Weitz & Luxenberg who is on the plaintiffs’ executive committee that is managing consolidated dicamba proceedings in federal court. “Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg. This dangerous chemical has caused lasting harm to the environment, damaged thousands of acres of cropland, and ruined the livelihoods of as many farmers. We look forward to helping each of them achieve the justice they deserve.”
Weitz & Luxenberg is also representing 25,000 plaintiffs against Monsanto in cases that allege their popular weed killer Roundup is carcinogenic. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” and there are estimates that more than 100,000 patients have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup.