A federal jury has awarded a southeast Missouri peach grower 15 million dollars in compensatory damages and 250 Million in punitive damages in its dicamba drift case against Monsanto and BASF.
The trial concluded Saturday which meant the gag-order was lifted. Monsanto Attorney Chris Hohn said after the trial, “I think it goes without saying that Monsanto is very disappointed in the jury’s verdict and we will be appealing.”
Hohn told reporters Saturday that (Bayer)Monsanto has great empathy for owner Bill Bader but there was no concrete evidence showing anything on his peach farm related to Xtendimax. Hohn says there was, however, evidence from three experts showing Bader Farms is suffering from an invasive soil fungus, “That’s called armillaria root rot and that is what is killing Mr. Bader’s peach trees.”
The lawsuit said Bader’s peach trees suffered damage from dicamba drift and volatilization on more than 700 acres of peach orchards.
The plaintiff accused Monsanto and BASF of colluding to speed the dicamba products to market which both sides denied. Hohn tells Brownfield Ag News, “BASF and Monsanto are and have been fierce competitors and certainly were not engaged in any kind of conspiracy or joint venture.”
Bayer says the verdict will not affect its Xtend product which will be available to growers this spring.
BASF says it is also disappointed in the verdict and will look at its post-trial options, calling dicamba products like its Engenia herbicide a critically important tool for growers battling resistant weeds in soybeans and cotton.