Monsanto lost in court a third time in defense of their Roundup weed killer, which allegedly causes cancer, according to at least 1,000 lawsuits consolidated in the Northern District of California, and 12,000 others filed elsewhere around the country. The Oakland jury ordered Monsanto to pay more than $2 billion in damages to a couple diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Pilliod vs. Monsanto
Alva and Alberta Pilliod had been using Roundup on their Northern California property for decades when Mr. Pilliod, now 76, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His wife, now 74, received the same diagnosis in 2015. The couple’s lawyer said homeowners like the Pilliods are at greater risk of developing cancer than professionals using the product because they were never told to wear protective gloves or clothing. The jury’s decision was based on internal company documents revealing indifference to safety, according to lawyers quoted by the NY Times.
Parent Company Bayer Denies Liability
Bayer, who acquired Monsanto last year, believes the punitive verdict is excessive, but attorneys say they based the $1 billion per person on the $892 million annual profit Monsanto made from Roundup sales. The glyphosate used as the active ingredient is the world’s most widely used herbicide. Bayer spokespeople remain adamant that the chemical is perfectly safe.
Documents Unsealed in 2017 Make A Compelling Case in Court
Other verdicts reached similar conclusions:
- In March 2019, a federal jury in San Francisco awarded $80 million to Edwin Hardeman, a homeowner who used Roundup to control weeds and poison oak on his property for 26 years before learning he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2015. Mr. Hardeman said he filed his lawsuit in February 2016, after the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer listed glyphosate “a probable carcinogen,” and California declared glyphosate a chemical that is “known to cause cancer.”
The legal team presented expert testimony and research showing Roundup causes mutations in human cells. Most damning were the documents unsealed in 2017, suggesting Monsanto had ghostwritten research later attributed to academics, and evidence that a senior EPA official worked to shut down a federal safety review of glyphosate and tipped off the company about possible investigations, so they could prepare their defense well in advance.
- In August 2018, a state court in San Francisco awarded Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old school groundskeeper, $289 million, including $39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages. Johnson’s lawsuit was pushed ahead in line due to a medical prognosis that he would not likely survive beyond 2020. A judge later reduced the total amount to $78 million, but Bayer appealed the verdict altogether.
Upcoming trials include:
- August 19th, 2019 (St. Louis County Circuit Court) – Sharlean Gordon, a woman in her fifties, filed her claim in July 2017 after using Roundup for 15 continuous years and receiving a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2006. She has endured two stem cell transplants, spent a year in a nursing home for round-the-clock care, and struggles with mobility. Her lawyer described Monsanto’s conduct as “outrageous,” and believes his client will become the posterchild for the human toll of the chemical, given her tremendous suffering.
- September 9th, 2019 (St. Louis County Circuit Court) – Maurice Cohen and Burrell Lamb brought a claim that has since been joined by 48 other plaintiffs. In every case, the individuals used Roundup for two to 35 consecutive years – and subsequently ended up with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “Monsanto has known for decades that it falsely advertises Roundup,” the lawsuit alleges. The argument points to various safety assessments of glyphosate by international organizations.
Unless a settlement is reached, the trials will continue with:
- October 15, 2019 (St. Louis) – Winston v. Monsanto
- January 21, 2020 (St. Louis City Court) – Wade v. Monsanto
Did you or a loved one develop cancer following years of using Roundup weed killer, either on the job or on your home property? Contact Showard Law Firm if you have any questions about filing a Roundup lawsuit. Depending on the circumstances, you may be eligible to request compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. Our team offers free case reviews and representation at no upfront cost to plaintiffs. You only pay for our services if we win! Our firm accepts cases nationwide.
- Press Democrat, Did weed killer Roundup cause cancer in Sonoma County resident Edwin Hardeman?, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/9363655-181/did-weed-killer-roundup-cause
- S. Right To Know, Sharlean Gordon v. Monsanto, https://usrtk.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Sharlean-Gordon-v.-Monsanto.pdf