Today a jury of seven people in Cape Girardeau, Mo., found BASF and Monsanto responsible for dicamba damage to peach trees. The plaintiff in the case alleges the companies sold a defective product and they conspired to launch new dicamba-resistant soybean seeds ahead of EPA approval of new dicamba formulations designed to minimize drift.
The jury awarded Bader Farms $15 million in actual damages and tomorrow will decide an amount of punitive damages, too.
“Happy my dad got what he deserved, he built this farm himself,” says Levi Bader, the eldest son of plaintiff Bill Bader. “Peaches are his life and he can’t keep growing them with dicamba [around]. Hopefully he can get paid back for what we’ve lost over the past five years.”
Bader Farms, the plaintiff, is suing for damages that occurred to peach trees in the 2015 and 2016 season. In 2015, Monsanto (now Bayer by acquisition) sold cottonseed with Xtend traits with warning labels on the bag discouraging dicamba application. In 2016 the company launched the soybean product before the accompanying herbicide received approval. Xtendimax (Bayer) and Engenia (BASF), two new dicamba formulations, received regulatory approval in time to be used in the 2017 growing season.
The companies say the peach losses were sparked by longstanding disease issues in the orchard.
This trial, Bader Farms versus Monsanto and BASF, is a Bellwether trial for a larger potential class action for dicamba damages.
Plaintiff and defendants are still under a gag order until jury is released tomorrow. Story will be updated with comments as soon as they're available.
Read more detail about the trial here.
Stay tuned to Agweb.com for more information about what the outcome of this case means for future dicamba trials regarding soybean damage, and what it means for this year’s re-registration of Xtend, FeXapan and Engenia herbicides.