Pedram Esfandiary is a partner and trial attorney based in the Los Angeles office of Wisner Baum, where he concentrates his practice on toxic tort injuries, pharmaceutical drug liability, class actions, consumer fraud litigation and police misconduct lawsuits. He was promoted to partner in March 2023. He is the youngest lawyer to earn this distinction at the firm.
He is currently leading the firm’s legal team handling the toxic baby food litigation. This new mass tort litigation involves allegations against the major brand manufacturers (Nurture Happy Family Organics, Beech-Nut, Hain, Plum Organics, Walmart-Parent’s Choice, Sprout Foods and Gerber) for knowingly selling baby food with “dangerously high levels” of toxic heavy metals. Baby food contains dangerous levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury, toxic heavy metals known to damage neurological development and brain development and associated with autism and ADHD in children.
As the number of children diagnosed with autism hits staggering highs, a groundbreaking lawsuit against the top baby food manufacturers seeks to show toxic metals in baby food can cause autism. Spotlight on America interviewed Wisner Baum lawyer Pedram Esfandiary and our client Melissa Cantabrana. Watch it here.
Pedram recently successfully sued the Burbank Police Department (California) for police misconduct, civil rights violations, assault, battery, unlawful seizure, excessive force and negligence. He also obtained a settlement from the City of Irvine when its former mayor violated one of its citizen’s first amendment rights when she blocked him from posting to her personal Facebook page which she was using as a public forum concerning official mayoral business.
He was an integral part of the trial team that won the historic $2 billion verdict against Monsanto (now Bayer) in May 2019 on behalf of a couple who together sprayed Roundup weed killer on their properties for 30 years. The jury in Pilliod, et al. v. Monsanto determined that Roundup exposure caused Alva and Alberta Pilliod’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and that Monsanto failed to warn the couple about the cancer risk associated with Roundup use. The jury awarded them $55 million in compensatory damages and $2 billion in punitive damages.
He also served in a similar capacity on the very first Roundup cancer case to go to trial against Monsanto, resulting in a $289 million verdict on behalf of groundskeeper Dewayne “Lee” Johnson. In addition, he participated in the second Roundup trial against Monsanto on behalf of Edwin Hardeman. The jury in that trial awarded Mr. Hardeman $80 million for his damages.
In recognition of his work in the Monsanto Roundup trials, Pedram has received well-deserved awards. He was selected as a winner on Law360’s Rising Stars Top 40 Under 40 list for 2019, which recognizes attorneys whose legal accomplishments transcend their age. Pedram has also been selected to Southern California Super Lawyers® – Rising Stars and the National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40.
He and other members of the Roundup trial teams in Pilliod, Hardeman and Johnson were also honored as Elite Trial Lawyers Mass Tort Law Firm of the Year finalists in 2020 by ALM and the National Law Journal, as well as the 2019 Trial Team of the Year 2019 by the National Trial Lawyers Top 100. At the end of 2020, the National Law Journal inducted Pedram and his colleagues into The Verdicts Hall of Fame and Law360 named them Product Liability Practice Group of the Year.
Various legal journals have top listed our landmark Roundup verdicts. The Daily Journal listed the $289M Johnson verdict among its top verdicts of 2018, the National Law Journal listed it in their Top 100 and Courtroom View Network listed it in its Top 10 Most Impressive Plaintiff Verdicts of 2018. Topverdict.com listed the $2B Pilliod verdict as #1 in California, #2 in the nation and the ninth largest verdict in history in 2019. The National Law Journal and the Daily Journal also recognized the Pilliod verdict in their top lists.
After the Johnson v. Monsanto verdict, UCLA School of Law, Emmett Institute on Climate Change & the Environment, and The Resnick Center for Food Law & Policy, as well as Yale Law School’s Collaboration for Research Integrity and Transparency (CRIT) program, invited Pedram to speak about how the trial team won the verdict and what it means for the legal community and the environment.
Pedram joined our law firm in September 2016 as a law clerk and was hired as an attorney in December 2016 after passing the California bar exam. Before joining the firm, Pedram pursued a Master of Laws degree (his second post-graduate degree) at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, where he was admitted on a merit scholarship.
During his time at USC, Pedram was Senior Editor of Los Angeles Public Interest Law Journal (LAPILJ), an independent collaboration of law students from Southwestern, Loyola, Pepperdine, UCLA, and USC. The journal is a platform for students, practitioners, and academics to address the structural inequalities within the legal system from the perspective of public interest. Contributors collaborate based on a shared concern for the adequate provision of legal services to disenfranchised groups.
Pedram’s interest in law was forged at the University of Birmingham Law School in the United Kingdom. He graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) and proceeded immediately to Nottingham Trent University in the U.K., where he received an M.A. degree in criminology.
While studying for his first master’s degree, Pedram was a Postgraduate Outreach Ambassador with the Schools, Colleges and Community Outreach program at Nottingham Trent University. As part of this position, he taught Farsi at a local after-school program that provides resources to disadvantaged communities around Nottingham.
Pedram also volunteered his time with The Outreach Program to host presentations and seminars at local disadvantaged secondary schools. These events highlighted the utility of learning a second language for the purposes of entering higher education with transferable skills and knowledge of other cultures in an increasingly diversified U.K.
- University of Southern California USC Gould School of Law (LL.M, 2016)
- Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, United Kingdom (M.A. Distinction Grade, in Criminology, 2014)
- University of Birmingham Law School, Birmingham, United Kingdom (LL.B 2013)
- California, 2016
- U.S. District Court, Central District of California, 2017
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, 2017
Awards and Honors
- California Powerhouse, Law360 Regional Powerhouse Series, 2021
- Product Liability Practice Group of the Year 2020, Law360
- 2020 Elite Trial Lawyers Mass Torts Law Firm of the Year, Finalist, ALM and National Law Journal
- The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40
- Verdicts Hall of Fame Inductee, The National Law Journal and VerdictSearch
- Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch, 2021 – 2023
- Selected: Southern California Super Lawyers® – Rising Stars, 2019 – 2022
- Top 40 Under 40 Law360 Rising Stars, 2019
- Number 1 Verdict in California in 2019, Topverdict.com (Pilliod et al. v. Monsanto Co.)
- Top 10 Verdicts in California in 2019, Topverdict.com (Pilliod et al. v. Monsanto Co.)
- 2019 Elite Trial Lawyers Mass Torts Trial Team of the Year, The National Law Journal and The Trial Lawyer Magazine
- Trial Team of the Year 2019, The National Trial Lawyers Top 100
- Daily Journal Top Verdicts, 2018
- CVN’s Top 10 Most Impressive Plaintiff Verdicts of 2018
- Number 1 Product Liability Verdict in California in 2018, Topverdict.com (Johnson v. Monsanto Co.)
- Top 10 Personal Injury Verdicts in the U.S. in 2018, Topverdict.com (Johnson v. Monsanto Co.)
- Top 100 Verdicts 2018, ALM, National Law Journal, Verdict Search (Johnson v. Monsanto Co.)
- Senior Editor of Los Angeles Public Interest Law Journal (LAPILJ)
- State Bar of California
- The American Association for Justice; Leaders Forum - Champion; Herbicides and Pesticides Litigation Group; Police Misconduct Litigation Group
- Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles
- Executive Board member, National Lawyers Guild of Los Angeles
- San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association
Legal Teaching Position
Presentations / Speeches
- Topic: Personal Injury Litigation Concerning Heavy Metals in Baby Foods
Organization: Trade Essential
Event: Baby to Kids Essential Conference
Location: London, England
Date: February 23-34, 2023
Topic: Baby Foods: A Personal Injury Perspective
Organization: Mass Torts Made Perfect
Event: MTMP Connect Webinar
Date: September 29, 2021
Topic: Breaking Down the 1st Monsanto Roundup Trial and $289 Verdict
Date: May 4, 2020
Topic: Monsanto Litigation – Decades of Deceit
Organization: Students for Economic & Environmental Justice
Event: Expert Panel
Location: Berkeley Law School
Date: October 1, 2019
Topic: $289M Monsanto Roundup Verdict – Life After the Daubert Ruling and Johnson Trial
Speech Title: Trial Theme Overview
Organization: Harris Martin Publishing
Event: Half-Day Roundup CLE (Continuing Legal Education)
Location: Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, Santa Monica, California
Date: October 24, 2018
- How to Use Deposition Video at Trial, The Trial Lawyer, Fall 2022, The San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association (Co-authored with R. Brent Wisner)
Government Testimony and Public Comments
- Public Comment - Mr. Esfandiary submitted a comment on behalf of Baum Hedlund on December 20, 2021, during the Public Comment period under the scope of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) “Closer to Zero Action Plant: Impacts of Toxic Element Exposure and Nutrition at Different Crucial Developmental Stages,” virtual public meeting held on November 18, 2021. The FDA’s Closer to Zero (C2Z) action plan is meant to reduce exposure to arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury from foods eaten by babies and young children-to as low as possible.
- Public Comment – Mr. Esfandiary submitted a comment on behalf of Baum Hedlund on October 8, 2021, during the Public Comment period concerning the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) hearing on the Proposed Rulemaking, Warnings for Exposures to Glyphosate from Consumer Products New Sections 25607.48 and 25607.49 held on September 9, 2021. Our comments pertained to OEHHA’s proposed rulemaking for glyphosate exposure warnings. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup weed killer, is a chemical known to cause cancer under California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (known more simply as Proposition 65).
- Virtual testimony - Quasi-legislative formal public hearing: California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) hearing on the Proposed Rulemaking, Warnings for Exposures to Glyphosate from Consumer Products New Sections 25607.48 and 25607.49, September 9, 2021
- In-person testimony - California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) hearing on the proposed regulatory “Safe Harbor” No Significant Risk Level (NSRL) for glyphosate, June 7, 2017
Pro Bono and Civic Activities
- Published the Monsanto Papers - During the Monsanto Roundup cancer litigation, Pedram helped declassify and publish internal documents known as the Monsanto Papers, revealing Monsanto’s scientific manipulation to hide the truth about Roundup’s harmful effects. This evidence and the successful plaintiffs verdicts have changed how the world questions the safety of Roundup, resulting in regulatory changes, restrictions and bans of glyphosate across the globe. August 1, 2017 through December 2019
- Executive Board member, National Lawyers Guild of Los Angeles
- Volunteer at Schools, Colleges and Community Outreach Program at Nottingham Trent University, U.K.
- Swedish (conversational)