Jan. 22, 2019 – Miami, Florida – – The National Law Journal and the Trial Lawyer Magazine named Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman attorney and shareholder, R. Brent Wisner, one of America’s 50 Most Influential Trial Lawyers for his success over the past year.
The outstanding civil plaintiff and criminal defense lawyers named to the prestigious list were selected from nominations submitted by the magazine’s readers. Each lawyer was selected based on his or her professional achievements, trial results and ability to affect change in the legal community.
America’s 50 Most Influential Lawyers were recognized on Monday afternoon at the annual Trial Lawyers Summit held in Miami, Florida. At this same event, Brent also received recognition with his colleagues and co-counsel as the Trial Team of the Year for their landmark verdict against Monsanto Co. for its Roundup weed killer causing a California man’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Wisner Honored for Work in Monsanto Roundup Litigation
In 2018, R. Brent Wisner served as co-lead counsel for Dewayne “Lee” Johnson in his case against Monsanto Company (now Bayer). Lee filed a lawsuit against Monsanto in 2016, alleging exposure to a Monsanto glyphosate-based herbicide caused him to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Johnson’s lawsuit was the first of thousands of similar lawsuits against Monsanto to proceed to trial.
In his role as co-lead counsel, Wisner delivered the opening and closing statement at trial, presented most of the scientific evidence, and conducted the cross-examination of Monsanto’s experts.
After five weeks of trial proceedings, the jury unanimously awarded Mr. Johnson $289.2 million in damages on August 10, 2018, finding that Monsanto acted with malice, oppression or fraud and should be punished for its conduct.
“We were finally able to show the jury the secret, internal Monsanto documents proving that Monsanto has known for decades that glyphosate and specifically Roundup could cause cancer,” said Wisner following the verdict.
“Despite the Environmental Protection Agency’s failure to require labeling, we are proud that an independent jury followed the evidence and used its voice to send a message to Monsanto that its years of deception regarding Roundup is over and that they should put consumer safety first over profits.”
In the months following the landmark jury verdict, the judge overseeing the trial ruled to uphold the jury’s verdict while reducing the punitive damages awarded to Mr. Johnson, bringing the total to $78.5 million in damages. After careful considerations, Mr. Johnson decided to accept the remittitur with the hope that his case would come to a final resolution in his lifetime.
Monsanto is appealing the Johnson verdict.
Brent and his firm were also responsible for releasing a collection of declassified secret documents known as The Monsanto Papers in 2017. These documents, obtained during the Discovery process in the Monsanto Roundup cancer lawsuits, reveal the company’s scientific manipulation, ghostwriting, and collusion with the EPA to keep Roundup weed killer on the market. These papers, the Johnson trial evidence and the groundbreaking Monsanto verdict, have had a great impact on public policy in the EU, causing the EU Parliament, a few days ago, to adopt strong recommendations to protect health and environment from pesticides. Baum Hedlund continues to get more secret documents out from under seal and into the hands of governmental bodies and the public at large.
In addition to his work in the Monsanto litigation last year, Brent also scored the first jury verdict holding a brand-name drug manufacturer liable for injuries caused by a generic version of the drug. Wisner served as co-lead counsel in the case of Wendy Dolin v. GlaxoSmithKline. An Illinois jury awarded Dolin $3 million, holding GSK liable for the death of her husband, Stewart Dolin, who committed suicide after he started taking a generic version of the GSK antidepressant, Paxil.
About R. Brent Wisner
Brent Wisner is a trial attorney and shareholder at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman. A Los Angeles native, Brent is driven by a deep-rooted passion for using the law to help those who have been marginalized and hurt by large, and sometimes malicious, corporations.
He concentrates his practice on pharmaceutical litigation, toxic-tort injuries, and consumer fraud litigation. Brent also oversees Baum Hedlund’s Medicare Secondary Payer cases, representing Medicare providers who have lost taxpayer funds to pharmaceutical companies and other large defendants.
In 2018, Brent was also named a Titan of the Plaintiff’s Bar by Law360 and recognized as one of the Daily Journal’s Top 100 Lawyers in California.