Pre-Trial Day 2 – Going Through the Motions
We are back in a freshly spiffed up courtroom – a large screen is angled towards the jury chairs. Jury selection is not happening today, due to the large number of motions to exclude evidence that need to be resolved prior to the mini-presentations that the lead attorneys will make to the jury panel during selection.
Things are rolling at 10:15am. We settle in for a long day of debate. Monsanto makes the argument that due to security concerns, they do not feel that the trial should be televised. Apparently, employees of Monsanto have been quite violently threatened with postcards and voicemail by vehement activists. Furthermore, due to the media coverage already underway, concern over biasing the jury is expressed. Judge Bolanos rules that she will permit a single video recording of the Opening Statements, Closing Statements, and taking of the verdict. Monsanto further questions if there should be some kind of limitation on what the local news is saying as to not bias the jury. Judge Bolanos is open to ideas.
Now we go more deeply into the long list of Motions that Plaintiff seeks to have addressed before setting time estimates on witness testimonies. Please SEE CASE INFO for the arguments submitted by both Plaintiff and Monsanto.
NO. 6 TO EXCLUDE EVIDENCE, ARGUMENT, OR REFERENCE TO INDUSTRIAL BIO-TEST OR CRAVEN LABORATORIES
Ruling: IBT and Craven Laboratories will be excluded from testimony. Also ruled that Monsanto is not to make claims based on any of the data generated by those laboratories, including that Roundup has “safely” been on the market since the 1970s.
NO. 7 TO EXCLUDE EMAIL FROM DONNA FARMER
Ruling: Donna Farmer has been deposed as a witness for the Plaintiff. The argument from Monsanto is too vague to be granted exclusion of the email.
NO. 9 TO EXCLUDE OR LIMIT EVIDENCE, ARGUMENT, OR REFERENCE TO ADVERSE EVENT REPORTS (AERs)
Ruling: If there is an AER that was specifically relevant and similar to the case of Johnson, Judge Bolonos will review it for permissibility.
NO. 13 TO EXCLUDE INTRODUCTION, ARGUMENT, OR REFERENCE TO SERALINI STUDY AND ANY INFORMATION THEREIN
Ruling: Due to the questionable quality of the Seralini research and statistical methods, the study can only be used as evidence of Monsanto’s actions in response to studies that cast negative light on Roundup. No argument should be made on the basis of the science presented in the study.
NO. 16 TO EXCLUDE ANY EVIDENCE, ARGUMENT, OR REFERENCE TO TRACE IMPURITIES IN ROUNDUP PRO OR RANGERPRO
NO. 18 TO EXCLUDE EVIDENCE OF PRODUCTS NOT AT ISSUE IN THIS LITIGATION
Ruling: Granted to Monsanto. A product like Agent Orange was produced too long ago, under what they refer to as “Old Monsanto”, to be considered relevant to the case. It is considered that all subsequent litigation and findings regarding Agent Orange were so controversial that there is a great deal of prejudice vs value to the litigation.
NO. 20 TO EXCLUDE EVIDENCE, ARGUMENT, OR REFERENCE TO “GHOSTWRITING”
Ruling: Upholding Judge Karnow’s ruling that inclusion of evidence of ghostwriting will be permitted in Plaintiff’s arguments.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay for the afternoon session, in which more of the motions were argued. I suspect that jury selection will begin tomorrow. Judge Bolanos told the courtroom that jury selection will take place in the much larger courtroom on the 6th floor.
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