This multidistrict litigation includes approximately 41 purported class and individual actions filed by farmers whose crops were allegedly damaged by dicamba herbicide when it moved off the original spraying site. Plaintiffs claim that Monsanto prematurely released dicamba-resistant seeds before releasing its corresponding dicamba herbicide. Defendants then allegedly encouraged farmers to use older and more volatile versions of dicamba herbicide, which damaged non-dicamba-resistant crops near the spray site. Plaintiffs also claim that defendants knew the new formulations of dicamba herbicide are not appreciably less volatile than older formulations.
Plaintiffs further claim the defendants conspired in this wrongful conduct. Before the new formulations of dicamba herbicide came to market, Monsanto was able to sell its dicamba-resistant seeds, and BASF was able to boost sales of its older dicamba herbicides. After the new formulations of dicamba herbicide came to market, their increased use would lead to increased sales of both dicamba-resistant seeds and the new formulations of dicamba herbicide. Plaintiffs brought claims under the Sherman Act and Lanham Act and also assert various state-based causes of action.
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated the Dicamba Herbicide cases on February 1, 2018, and transferred the matter to this Court to conduct pretrial proceedings for all of the cases. Master Complaints for class actions related to crop damage and antitrust were each filed. This Court dismissed the Master Complaint related to antitrust claims Doc. #340. The Master Complaint related to crop damage claims was dismissed in part, but numerous counts still remain Doc. #302.
One case, Bader Farms v. Monsanto, et al., 1:16cv299, was the first-filed dicamba-crop damage case, and it is proceeding separately under its own Case Management Order. The Bader plaintiffs claim that dicamba damaged their peach orchard. A three-week jury trial commenced in Cape Girardeau on January 27, 2020. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff and awarded $15 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages. The defendants filed numerous post-trial motions, and this Court denied in part and granted in part the motions, reducing the punitive damages award to $60 million Bader Doc. # 645.
The parties appealed, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded the matter to this Court in July 2022 “with instructions to hold a new trial on the single issue of punitive damages.” Bader Doc. #665-1. After additional briefing, this Court reiterated its unappealed ruling that BASF was not liable for punitive damages. Bader Doc. #690. This Court also held that BASF was responsible for post-trial interest its portion of the $15 million compensatory damages award. Bader Doc. #692. Plaintiffs have settled the punitive damages matter with Monsanto, but they have appealed the ruling with respect to BASF’s punitive damages liability.
Hearings and Conferences
Bader Pretrial Conferences: January 9, 2020 at 1:00 p.m.; January 23, 2020 at 1:00 p.m.
Bader Jury Trial: January 27, 2020