WE ARE ON A ROLL!! Now we have a grand trifecta. Here’s how it went down.
I don’t think I’ll ever get over missing the Hardeman Phase 1 Verdict by mere moments while getting tea. With that in mind, I have no intention of leaving the proximity of the courtroom at any point today. I make my way up to the fourth floor and the elevator doors open. Plaintiff attorneys Wisner and Esfandiary are seated in the row of hallway chairs facing the elevator, passing the time in a verdict-watch situation that feels similar to the Johnson trial.
Soon after I get settled, the clerk calls in the teams for a jury question. We all rapidly hustle over to the courtroom and learn that the jury wants information on an aspect of filling out the verdict form. The decision must be imminent! Whoever was undecided must have given it some thought over the weekend.
We head back into the hallway, and AOJ decides to join in on the verdict watch with the rest of the crew. The verdict audience today is much smaller than that in Johnson and Hardeman. Perhaps Monsanto losing is just old news at this point.
I take a quick lunch break to catch up with US Courtroom News reporter Helen Christophi, who was very oddly taken off the case after she questioned the “courtroom manager” during the Opening Statements of Pilliod. As we chat, we see a gaggle of now-obvious Bayer spies hanging in the hallway. One man looks insane with his long hair, vacant expression and chunky glasses. He makes a circle around the floor in a choreographed routine. Part of the routine is walking into a room corner, backing up, and then pivoting into a different direction. Much like you might see with a remote control car or Roomba. Another spy, who looks like an ordinary, inconspicuous white retiree, sits down next to us and looks at his phone. It is all just so very odd.
Do honest people need spies to collect information in the hallways?
After the lunch break, I chat with the Plaintiff team and the Pilliods. My heart is racing and my words are more rapid. The clerk announces that the jury has a verdict!
AOJ and I hussle in and take seats on the Monsanto side of the gallery, where there is a much better view of the jury box. The jury files in, and are completely stone-faced. There is absolutely no indication as to which direction they have awarded the verdict. At the end of all three trials, none of the juries have given away their ruling prior to it being read – not any kind of smile, glance, thumbs up – nothing.
Judge Smith enters and asks the foreperson for the verdict form. Smith pages through the two sets of forms – one for Alva and another for Alberta. She is extremely serious. Oh no, what does that mean. I convince myself that it is merely her being impartial, though impartial would ideally be represented by mild expression. She hands the verdict over to another courtroom official to read.
VERDICT ALBERTA PILLIOD
Now that it is my third reading of the verdict, I understand that if question #1 goes our way, the likelihood of the rest also going our way is extremely high.
“Question 1. Did Roundup fail to perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would have expected when used or misused in an intended or reasonably foreseeable way? Answer, YES.”
“Question 2. Was the design of Roundup a substantial factor in causing harm to Alberta Pilliod? Answer, YES”
We all exhale. Mike Miller and Brent Wisner sit back a bit in their chairs with a small smile and a great deal of relief. We wait for the damages:
OH MY GOSH!!! ONE BILLION DOLLARS!!! Well there you go. Thank you so much Dr. Heydens, whose corruption is littered throughout the Monsanto Papers, for the suggested dollar amount of punitive liability:
I’m sitting here pondering this as we speak. The $1 billion question is how it could impact, actually cause them to reopen their cancer review and do their own in-depth epidemiology evaluation. This is getting huge after what we heard on our call this morning.
VERDICT ALVA PILLIOD
Still in a state of blissful rejoice that the jury agreed with the recommended damage numbers, I refocus for Alva’s verdict. His case is more complicated because, as you may recall, Dr. Levine said: “I am saying he was immunosuppressed. I have not, in 50 years, seen this kind of a history in someone whose immune system is fully normal.”
The verdict reading begins. The answers are joyously the same. We get to the damages.
HOLY COW – ANOTHER BILLION + !
I turn to AOJ: “Wait that’s 2 billion in punitives?” He’s wide eyed and nods his head yes.
Smith runs through a poll of the jury. The verdict form questions were answered mostly unanimously, with Juror #11 holding firm that Roundup did not specifically cause either Pilliod’s cancer. He would be an interesting person to interview given his position as the extreme outlier.
Three jurors did not agree with the total amount of punitive damages awarded. The jury is dismissed, and as they are leaving, a few sweetly stop to shake the hand of the Pilliods who are standing in front of the bench with Miller and Wisner.
A few jurors agree to speak to all of us out in the hallway. I see the dentist, the foreperson, Berkeley Jared Leto, and our friend who spent most of the time with his eyes closed.
Other interesting tidbits from the Q&A with jurors:
- Dr. Levine was unconvincing because she has never considered pesticides in her entire career until now. I’m so interested in this response, because I found her to be the strongest witness of the Monsanto bunch.
- Portier and Weisenburger were the most compelling Plaintiff witnesses due to their long history of studying pesticides.
- The guy who I thought slept the entire time must have been pretty alert behind those eyelids – he stuck around and so very articulately detailed his thinking process and opinions.
- The jurors thought that if Mr. Pilliod indeed had a compromised immune system, all the more reason that he should NOT be using Roundup!
The jurors decide that they are done and dart for the elevator. WELL DONE JURY #3!!!
I want to shed light on some women that I’ve met along the way (who were not involved in the trial as lawyers or experts) who have been working incredibly hard on the Roundup issue behind the scenes.
- MacKenzie Feldman – Just today, Kenzie saw her goal of getting all of the University of California schools to ban Roundup realized. She’s super young and energetic, too. You will be hearing much more from her.
- Zen Honeycutt – I love Zen. Zen has been loudly screaming about this problem for many years. Her non-profit, Moms Across America, has the information and materials to help you spread the accurate science about Roundup to your communities. She also published the book Unstoppable, that is like a textbook on what’s what in GMOs/Roundup.
- Dr. Stephanie Seneff – This woman is tireless when it comes to researching Roundup and fighting to share information in both small and large context. She also has a great sense of humor, which perhaps is key to persevering on this grim topic. I am looking forward to a book she will hopefully publish soon!!
- Carey Gillam – Carey has been keenly reporting on Monsanto and Roundup for over two decades. She also published the book Whitewash, which gives the backstory of how Monsanto was able to do all of these crappy things to us. We wear the same brand of pants.
- Rachel Linden – Rachel is the one and only @GMOFreeMom. I immediately empathized with Rachel because her motivation to make change came after recovering from chronic illness bred from toxins in our food. She’s a bad-ass force with a loud voice and dry sense of humor. We will also be hearing more from her soon.
I haven’t forgotten to recognize the men. AOJ suggested that I might enjoy a “Men of Glyphosate” calendar. Let me know if you would like to throw your hat in the ring. AOJ reserved June. I don’t mean to intimidate anyone, but he’s a fine-lookin contractor. Delightful Dickens of December will round out the year. All proceeds will go to Seralini research.
Next week, there is a meeting in the Federal Court to discuss next steps on upcoming trials. At the end of August, St. Louis will host its first trial, with Monsanto employees testifying live.
A huge congrats to all of the attorneys and expert witnesses who have worked tirelessly in preparation for this trial. The Pilliods received justice.
This keeps running through my mind:
Too hot – hot damn – make a dragon want to retire man. – Bruno Mars
Our team is on FIRE!