Will I Need to Testify In My Roundup® Case?

A Roundup® plaintiff may eventually need to testify at trial, but deposition testimony is a near certainty.

If you're experiencing health problems that could be related to your use of the popular weed killing product Roundup® (glyphosate), you may be thinking about filing a lawsuit against Monsanto/Bayer (the manufacturer of Roundup®). One of the big questions you might have is whether you will need to testify at any point.

As with other types of personal injury cases, the person claiming illness and other harm (the "plaintiff") in a Roundup® lawsuit might be called to testify at a deposition fairly early on in the case, and could need to give testimony again in the rare event that the Roundup® case goes to trial.

The Deposition In a Roundup® Case

Well before a Roundup® case reaches the trial stage (and typically before any serious settlement talks take place), the plaintiff will almost certainly be asked to attend a deposition. This proceeding is part of the discovery portion of the lawsuit, in which each side gathers information and evidence about:

  • the facts of the case
  • the strengths/weaknesses of the parties' claims and defenses, and
  • the credibility of witnesses.

It's not just the plaintiff who may be asked to give deposition testimony. Anybody with knowledge of the case, including expert witnesses, can be summoned to appear and provide testimony under oath.

When the plaintiff is called to give deposition testimony in a Roundup® case, Monsanto/Bayer’s attorney(s) will ask the plaintiff a range of questions, on subjects including:

  • the nature and extent of the plaintiff's Roundup® use
  • the symptoms the plaintiff has experienced, and the details of any diagnosis of Roundup®-related illness, and
  • any preexisting illness or other health issues that could relate to the plaintiff's claimed health problems.

The plaintiff’s own attorney may ask the plaintiff questions following defense counsel’s examination, to clarify or correct the plaintiff’s previous testimony. Although a judge is not present during the deposition, a court reporter makes a record of everything that is said, and a transcript of the proceedings is prepared.

Depositions are considered adversarial, so the questions defense counsel asks the plaintiff may include attempts to disprove one or more elements of the plaintiff’s Roundup® case, or call into question the plaintiff’s credibility. Questions can be detailed and will likely seek personal information, including information regarding the plaintiff’s health and employment history, and details of any claimed "pain and suffering" damages.

Defense counsel’s questioning may also appear hostile, abrupt, or accusatory. This may be an effort to intimidate the plaintiff and provoke conflicting or harmful testimony that may damage the plaintiff’s case. Typically, the plaintiff’s attorney will advise short, succinct answers, so that the plaintiff doesn't inadvertently provide conflicting or confusing testimony that could be harmful to the case.

Plaintiff's Trial Testimony In a Roundup® Case

Most Roundup® cases settle, but a few do proceed all the way to trial, and a plaintiff may take the witness stand and provide testimony under oath in front of a judge and jury.

The plaintiff will be subjected to friendly questioning by the plaintiff’s own attorney (called "direct" examination), followed by questioning by defense counsel (called "cross-examination"). The cross-examination portion of the questioning, like the questioning by defense counsel during a deposition, is often adversarial and may include efforts to disprove element(s) of the plaintiff’s case or discredit the plaintiff. Again, short and succinct answers will likely be in the plaintiff's best interest.

Following the defense’s questioning, the plaintiff’s attorney may ask the plaintiff another series of questions (this is called "redirect"), in an attempt to repair any potentially damaging testimony that emerged during cross examination.

If you're thinking about taking legal action over health problems potentially caused by your use of Roundup®, an attorney can explain the logistics involved, and will make sure you're well prepared. Get tips on finding the right lawyer for you and your Roundup® case.

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