I’m not going to miss the verdict this time. I was finally added to the media list, so I can now get the real-time updates on the status of the jury.
A few news organizations asked to interview me, so I look to find a quiet spot in the courthouse to film. I’m ridiculously unsmooth with video. Because I’ve learned the hard way over the last six months that poor lighting can make someone look like they are knocking on death’s door, I stole my teen son’s small Vlog filming light just in case. I try to set up for a Facetime Live in the hallway, with my trusty light and phone, but a senior security person appears to tell me that no cameras are allowed in the hallways. I apologize and say I had no idea. He belly laughs, “CLEARLY you didn’t know, you certainly aren’t trying to hide with that bright video light.” Oh my gosh, so embarrassing.
So, I regroup in the cash-only cafeteria. Just as I settle in, a small, little voice comes over the intercom, requesting a return to Chhabria’s courtroom for the verdict. I frantically throw everything into my bag, and hightail it back to the 17th floor.
My elevator arrives at the same time as the Hardemans, who look remarkably calm. I have a few moments with Mary Hardeman, and then we enter the courtroom. The ability for the courtroom to be so packed on such short notice is remarkable. I turn to look at the back doors, and find them lined with security guards, blocking the entrance. Yikes – I wonder if that is in response to a specific threat, or simply standard for big court cases.
Chhabria enters the courtroom, and announces that the jurors have reached a verdict. They are invited in.
The jurors take a little longer than normal to come in – making the wait that much more painful! There are several sighs heard in the courtroom.
When they finally emerge, two in the jury show a little smile. I know that it must be good news! The rest of the jury are still maintaining blank expressions. The foreperson hands the big yellow verdict envelope over to Judge Chhabria. Chhabria opens the envelope and pulls out the verdict form.
He looks it over.
And looks it over.
Oh, for the love of God, he continues to look it over. Is he doing this intentionally for added drama?
Someone in the back says, in a voice a bit louder than appropriate, “The verdict must be for the Plaintiff if he has to look through that many pages of the verdict form.”
Chhabria announces that he is going to read the verdict.
1) Did Mr. Hardeman prove by a preponderance of the evidence his claim that Roundup’s design was defective? YES
2) Did Hardeman prove by a preponderance of the evidence his claim that Roundup lacked sufficient warnings of the risk of NHL? YES
3) Did Mr. Hardeman prove by a preponderance of the evidence his claim that Monsanto was negligent by not using reasonable care to warn about Roundup’s NHL risk? YES
4) What are Mr. Hardeman’s compensatory damages?
5) Did Mr. Hardeman prove by clear and convincing evidence that he is entitled to punitive damages? YES
6) If you answered “yes” to the previous question, what amount do you award Mr. Hardeman in punitive damages?
Mary Hardeman chokes up with emotion, and Hardeman lovingly puts his arm around her. They sit between attorneys Wagstaff and Moore, who now all huddle a bit with relief, emotion, and joy.
Chhabria polls the jury, and the verdict is unanimous.
Chhabria tells the still expressionless jury that they have now completed their service. He lifts the restrictions on reading about the trial in the media, and instructs them to let the court know if anybody is harassing them post-trial. This comment is most likely in response to Monsanto’s aggressive attempts to contact the Johnson jury post-trial.
Chhabria tells the attorneys that he would like to schedule a conference call to discuss case management steps on cases going forward. At some point, individual trials that repeatedly award the Plaintiff will be unsustainable.
Court is adjourned. The Hardemans, attorneys, and GG in the galley are tearfully elated!! There is laugher in this courtroom, the kind that celebrates the final acknowledgment of the truth, against seemingly all odds.
Bayer attorneys don’t look surprised in the least, and in fact have pleasant expressions. I mean, given the crappy evidence they were given to argue their case, they still did an excellent job on behalf of their client. I wonder when Bayer will realize that there is not going to be a legal team that is strong enough to successfully argue that Monsanto hasn’t lied, deceived, and killed the public.
After the verdict, a press conference, and a girls’ night out with fellow journalists, I feel so greatly fulfilled for the Hardemans, Johnson, and all of the other Plaintiffs awaiting their day in court.
I’m also feeling an enormous momentum to continue investigating and reporting on the recent research developments that will one day nail down the link between Roundup and intestinal damage that has brought on massive chronic illness globally.
I think we can do it!
I am on Spring Break next week. Agent OJ will cover the new trial in Oakland, California when he can. I have heard that no electronics of any kind are allowed in the courtroom. That makes covering the details considerably more challenging.