CAUSATION: Johnson v. Monsanto* (Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division 1, A155940)
CMA, along with other amici, filed an amicus curiae brief in this case involving a plaintiff who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma which he alleged was caused by his use of defendant Monsanto's herbicides. The issue in this case was whether Monsanto's glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup was the cause of the plaintiff's illness. Following a lengthy trial and conflicting expert testimony regarding the scientific question at issue, the jury concluded that Monsanto should have warned consumers that its herbicides caused cancer and that these products were defective because an ordinary consumer would not expect these products to cause cancer. The jury awarded the plaintiff a total of almost $290 million in damages which included $37 million in non-economic damages. CMA's amicus brief illustrates to the court the proper approach to scientific causation in this and other cases that present complex scientific questions – many of which are decided based on physician testimony. The brief points out that the answer to complex scientific questions should be based on accepted scientific evidence and rigorous scientific reasoning, not on speculation and emotion. This case is currently pending before the California Court of Appeal.