The largest peach farmer in Missouri, Bader Farms, successfully sued Bayer AG and BASF in federal court and walked away with a $15 million verdict in damages and a $250 million verdict in punitive damages in February of 2020. The farmer claimed that the herbicide dicamba, produced by BASF, and dicamba-resistant seeds, produced by Monsanto, caused extensive damage to their crops. Monsanto was acquired by Bayer in 2018.
Dicamba is a “selective” herbicide that only kills certain plants, leaving other plants unaffected. Dicamba is effective when used on crops planted with Monsanto’s genetically engineered dicamba-resistant seeds. Bader farm said that the neighboring farms planted cotton seeds and soybean seeds from Monsanto that were dicamba-resistant and subsequently sprayed BASF’s dicamba product on those crops. The Bader family claimed that the dicamba drifted onto his farm and killed large portions of his peach orchard (which were not dicamba-resistant). There are over 100 additional lawsuits by other farmers in the American mid-west who claim they have been victimized by “dicamba drift”.
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All the lawsuits claim that the designs of the products were negligent, that the products failed to warn of potential hazards and allege that the two companies conspired on these products in order to increase profits. According to St. Louis Public Radio, the jury in the Bader Farms case in fact found that:
Monsanto and BASF were found liable for negligent design of the products and negligent failure to warn regarding the products. The jury also found that the two companies created a joint venture to manufacture and sell dicamba-resistant seed and low-volatility herbicides, and that they conspired to create an "ecological disaster" to increase profits.
Bayer is also facing thousands of lawsuits over its Roundup® products; Roundup® is a weed killer. These lawsuits allege that Roundup® exposure can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Bayer is said to be in settlement discussions on the Roundup® cases.
Attorney Brett H. Oppenheimer is now exploring cases for farmers who have suffered losses from “dicamba drift” and dicamba-resistant seeds. Brett is also taking potential lawsuits from people who have developed non-Hodgkins Lymphoma after exposure to Roundup®. Brett asserts that corporations who put profits ahead of consumer safety should be held accountable for their actions.