A federal jury in San Francisco awarded 70-year-old Edwin Hardeman of California $80 million after he filed a lawsuit claiming that several years’ worth of exposure to Roundup weed killer on his Sonoma County land greatly contributed to his development of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The lawsuit alleged that Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer was defective by design and lacked sufficient warnings. The jury’s decision included $5.27 million in compensatory damages and $75 million in punitive damages. The Roundup verdict represents the third-largest product liability U.S. jury award in 2019.
Not the First Loss for Monsanto’s Weed Killer
The $80 million jury verdict marks the second consecutive loss for parent company Bayer. Last summer, a California jury awarded $39.3 million to former groundskeeper Dewayne Lee Johnson for lost earnings and loss of enjoyment in life after he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Monsanto was ordered to pay another $78.6 million as punishment for concealing known risks associated with Roundup herbicide.
The company plans to appeal the latest $80 million verdict and released the following statement:
“We are disappointed with the jury’s decision, but this verdict does not change the weight of over four decades of extensive science and the conclusions of regulators worldwide that support the safety of our glyphosate-based herbicides and that they are not carcinogenic. The verdict in this trial has no impact on future cases and trials, as each one has its own factual and legal circumstances. We have great sympathy for Mr. Hardeman and his family. Bayer stands behind these products and will vigorously defend them.”
Federal and state-level courts still have more than 11,000 similar cases pending. The first bellwether trials are no guarantee of future verdicts, but the strengths and weaknesses of both sides of the argument are hashed out, and they ultimately provide a roadmap of what does or doesn’t work.
A third trial is underway in Oakland, California. Alva and Alberta Pilliod, a couple in their seventies, have received early scheduling preference due to how gravely ill they are. Lawyers will focus on Monsanto’s alleged “secret campaign to manipulate public opinion and bury evidence of Roundup’s cancer risks,” according to MSN.
Jurors in Hardeman’s case first heard scientific arguments about the purported link between glyphosate and cancer before hearing arguments that Monsanto ghostwrote influential studies and improperly pressured regulators. Bayer’s lawyers claimed these emails were “taken out of context,” and that studies indicate their herbicide is safe.
Do You Have Questions About Roundup and Cancer?
Who is eligible to file a Roundup weed killer lawsuit? If you or a loved one have been exposed to Roundup and subsequently developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma, you may have a valid claim for compensation. Contact Showard Law Firm for a free consultation to explore your legal options.
- Fox 5 San Diego – Nor Cal Man Awarded 80 Million After Jury Rules Roundup Contributed To His Cancer, https://fox5sandiego.com/2019/03/27/norcal-man-awarded-80m-after-jury-rules-roundup-contributed-to-his-cancer/
- MSN – Jury Awards 80 Million in Damages in Roundup Cancer Case, https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/jury-awards-dollar80-million-in-damages-in-roundup-cancer-case/ar-BBVjtRI
- Bloomberg – Bayer Loses Bid To Wipe Out Roundup Cancer Verdict, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-22/bayer-loses-bid-to-wipe-out-first-roundup-cancer-verdict