A jury in California has awarded more than $2 billion to a couple who claimed Bayer's glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused their cancer. The jury awarded a total of $2 billion in punitive damages and $55 million in compensatory damages.
The verdict represents the third such legal setback for the company in California since mid-2018.
"They were given an incredibly hard task having to analyze the highly-complex scientific issues in this case", said co-lead trial counsel R. Brent Wisner, of Baum Hedlund Law, in a statement after the verdict. "The contrast between today's verdict and EPA's conclusion that there are "no risks to public health from the current registered uses of glyphosate" could not be more stark". The verdict comes about a month and a half after a jury awarded $80 million to another person, Edwin Hardeman, who has cancer.
This is the third lawsuit related to Roundup that Monsanto has lost in the state of California.
The state court jury in Oakland concluded that Monsanto's weed killer caused the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma Alva Pilliod and Alberta Pilliod each contracted.
If plaintiffs continue to win cases decided by juries in Missouri, the momentum in their favor "may push Bayer to begin to negotiate", she said. Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2014 and regularly spraying a high-concentration version of Roundup known as Ranger Pro as part of his job from 2012 to 2016. It insists that Roundup is safe to use.
A San Francisco jury last August awarded $289 million to a former golf course greens keeper who blamed his cancer on Monsanto's Roundup Ready herbicide. That award was later reduced to $78 million and is on appeal. Bayer is appealing each of these verdicts. Both are in remission but testified about lasting damage from the cancer.
More than 13,000 similar lawsuits have been filed against the company, according to the EWG news release.
Plaintiffs in the litigation allege that Monsanto had known about the herbicide's cancer risk for decades, but failed to warn consumers and instead attempted to influence scientists and regulators to receive favorable assessments of its products. "A number of Roundup cancer studies have confirmed that glyphosate exposure is a probable cause of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers".
A 2017 Reuters investigatihere found that the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer had dismissed and edited out "non-carcinogenic" findings that were at odds with its final conclusion that the chemical probably causes cancer. "Bayer must also wonder if Monsanto deployed the same underhanded tactics during their courtship that courtroom disclosures have shown permeated its corporate culture: deep deception, prevarication and denial in a headlong pursuit of profit, human and environmental consequences be damned".
The EPA reaffirmed its position in April, saying that the active ingredient glyphosate found in the weed killer posed "no risks of concern" for people exposed to it by any means - on farms, in yards and along roadsides, or as residue left on food crops.
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