King County jury returns $82 million verdict against Monsanto: the largest verdict in United States’ history against Monsanto for an individual plaintiff for any PCB product.

PWRFL attorneys Mike Wampold, Tomás Gahan and Felix Luna represented a family who attended the Sky Valley Education Center and were exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) manufactured by the Monsanto Chemical Company. A King County jury found that Monsanto produced a defective product and failed to warn about the hazards, resulting in injury to the Plaintiff.  The jury also found that Monsanto’s conduct was such that it warranted punitive damages against Monsanto.

From the early 1930’s to 1977, Monsanto Chemical Company produced and marketed PCBs for use in consumer products. Monsanto did so even though it knew that PCBs were toxic and did not dissipate into the environment.  Despite knowledge that PCBs caused systemic toxicity, Monsanto promoted their use in electrical, construction and other applications for 40+ years until PCBs were banned by the U.S. government.

As a result of Monsanto’s pursuit of profit over public welfare, PCBs were manufactured for use in public buildings such as schools for years before production was halted. Known internally at Monsanto as the “sleeper issue”, today up to 14 million school children in roughly 20,000 U.S. schools may be exposed to PCBs each day. One of these schools was the Sky Valley Education Center in Monroe, Washington.

PWRFL’s clients attended the Sky Valley Education Center from 2011 to 2015. Over the course of those four years, our clients, as well as other families started experiencing an exponential increase in health issues. It wasn’t until families began to connect the dots and realized they were all experiencing similar issues that they began to look to the school for answers. Parents soon discovered that PCB-containing light ballasts were still in use by the school.  These ballasts had begun to fail, smoke and burst, emitting PCBs into the classrooms.

PWRFL attorneys Mike Wampold, Tomás Gahan and Felix Luna, along with co-counsel from the Friedman Rubin Law Firm maintained that Monsanto had known about this danger to school children for decades and refused to adequately warn or remediate the issue. A Washington State jury agreed and found that Monsanto was liable for the dangerous product it created, and for the harm it caused. The jury awarded $82 Million including $61.5 Million in punitive damages.

Read more about the case here and here.