Law Street Media

BASF Dicamba Judgement Lowered to $75M, Less Than One Third of Previous Amount

A woman spraying a weed killer on plants.

Farmer spraying plants in greenhouse

Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr. of the Eastern District of Missouri significantly downsized its judgement against Monsanto and its parent company BASF on November 25 to a judgement of $15 million in punitive damages and $60 million in plus post-judgment interest, as well as the costs of the legal action, compared to the previous $265 million, in a suit regarding the dicamba herbicide. 

The plaintiffs in the suit, Bader Farms, Inc. and Bill Bader, claimed that the company was at fault for damage to its peach trees and other crops based on use of dicamba herbicides on nearby plants which were resistant to the herbicide. The plaintiffs claimed that Monsanto and BASF were at fault because they produced and sold a herbicide which was known to be volatile and dangerous to other crops. The plaintiff claimed that the defendants “conspired to create an ‘ecological disaster,’” by releasing its dicamba product.

The original judgment, granted after a three-week jury trial, awarded $15 million in actual damages and $250 million in punitive damages. BASF filed motions which were considered in the recent action, including a motion for a new trial and a motion to alter the judgment, according to last week’s memorandum and order. The court ruled to change the jury’s award of putative damages “to a Constitutionally-appropriate amount.” 

The order said in response to other motions brought by the defendants that “this case has straddled four years, a multi-district litigation, a trial that lasted over three weeks, and post-trial briefing in which memoranda alone totaled hundreds of pages. Numerous issues have been raised and re-raised with the Court, and, at trial, the Court and over a dozen counsel tackled hundreds of additional discrete issues—many of which were raised during the press of trial. Despite this, this Court is convinced that no legal error infected the case before, during, or after trial.” 

Bader Farms, Inc. and Bill Bader are represented by Randles and Splittgerber, Davis and George, and Rowdy Meeks Legal Group. The defendants are represented by Thompson Coburn, Nelson Mullins, Bryan Cave, Hepler Broom, and Faegre Drinker

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