Dicamba ruling sets the stage for class-action case

United States District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh ruled recently that a case will proceed to trial which alleges that Monsanto Company knowingly created an “ecological disaster” by marketing its Xtend cotton and soybean seeds to farmers without a safe herbicide.

Judge Limbaugh’s order, denying Monsanto’s motion for partial summary judgement, agreed with plaintiffs that the case centered around the “foreseeability” of Monsanto knowing the only option purchasers would have to protect their Xtend crops would be to illegally spray dicamba to protect the crops from noxious weeds. The plaintiffs’ foreseeability argument maintains Monsanto chose to sell the Xtend seeds knowing such destructive spraying would be inevitable. Once sprayed, the dicamba moves to other farmer’s fields, destroying their crops.

The Court stated, “…as this Court understands plaintiffs’ argument, why else would Monsanto market and sell dicamba-tolerant seed if not to encourage farmers to use dicamba on their crops? And in the (temporary) absence of Monsanto’s corresponding “safe” dicamba, would not the temptation to at least some unscrupulous pigweed-plagued farmers be too great for them to resist? All in all, it seems plausible that some of those farmers would be willing to gamble on the use of an unlawful product in return for a bumper crop (emphasis added).” In making his final determination on Monsanto’s motion for partial summary judgement, the judge’s order states, “all roads…lead back to foreseeability.” And foreseeability, the Court said, “should be a question left to a jury.”

Plaintiffs’ attorney, Bev Randles, said, “For three years, Bill Bader has stood and watched his life’s work and his kids’ and grandkids’ future being destroyed before his very eyes, through no fault of his own. The Court’s ruling ensures that Mr. Bader and all other plaintiffs like him will get their day in court.”

Judge Limbaugh presides over all dicamba litigation nationwide. See In Re: Dicamba Herbicides Litigation, 1:18-md-2820-SNLJ. This ruling ensures that these other plaintiffs’ cases, which are part of a multidistrict litigation, will proceed.