Jury Trial Victory Defeats Claim Linking Autism with Pesticide

Posted by on Aug 17, 2016 in news, news_older | 0 comments

The Firm recently won a landmark jury trial involving pesticides and autism. The plaintiff, a 13 year old boy, through his mother as guardian ad litem, claimed “brain damage” from his mother’s alleged inhalation exposure to an organophosphate pesticide (Dursban) while pregnant. Plaintiff asked the jury to award $20 million in damages. Over two years before the pregnancy, our client, Andy’s Termite & Pest Control, had applied the Dursban in the family’s basement soil to control subterranean termites. The trial lasted 3-months, but the jury took only 4 days to render a defense verdict in favor of our client on all 14 theories of liability.


Five years earlier, the Firm got the same case dismissed without a trial, when another judge ruled that plaintiff’s expert testimony based on rat experiments was inadmissible “junk science” that could not possibly show a causal link between autism and the alleged exposure. However, the Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the jury, not a judge, should decide what weight to give to animal studies. See Roberti v. Andy’s Termite & Pest Control (2003) 113 Cal.App.4th 893.  That appellate decision, and this jury trial, have been closely watched by the legal community, as pesticides and autism remain subjects of great public interest.