One of the biggest litigation stories in the country—and the world—right now features Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.
Bayer, which acquired Monsanto in 2016, is facing more than 13,000 Roundup lawsuits alleging that the herbicide causes cancer. After suffering three straight trial defeats, some have speculated that Bayer will settle the remaining cases. But the agro-giant has seen damages significantly reduced in all three cases so far, and has vowed to continue defending Roundup lawsuits.
Glyphosate, the main ingredient of Roundup, is the most heavily used weed killer in history, which has led many to wonder if they too are at risk of cancer. If you have a history of applying Roundup and were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, you may have a claim. Learn more during a free case review.
Three Trials, Three Victories for Roundup Plaintiffs
Roundup lawsuits are a David vs. Goliath battle pitting everyday Americans against an agricultural megacorporation. Surprisingly, underdog plaintiffs have emerged victorious in three jury trials. And not only have won, but they’ve been awarded huge verdicts.
- Dewayne Johnson, diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014, was awarded $289 million by a Northern California jury in August 2018. Mr. Johnson mixed and sprayed hundreds of gallons of Roundup while working as a school district groundskeeper.
- Edwin Hardeman won an $80 million Roundup cancer verdict against Bayer in March 2019. Mr. Hardeman sprayed Roundup to control growth on his residential properties for more than 20 years. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2015.
- In May 2019, Alva and Alberta Pilliod were awarded $2 billion—the largest Roundup verdict to date and one of the largest personal injury verdicts in United States history. The Pilliods applied an estimated gallon of Roundup per week for more than 30 years on their Northern California property. Both were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: Mr. Pilliod in 2011 and Mrs. Pilliod in 2015.
The initial enthusiasm over these Roundup verdicts, however, has been dampened by judicial decisions to slash them. Judges, who have the authority to reduce jury awards they believe to be excessive and unconstitutional, have made the following adjustment to plaintiffs’ Roundup damages:
- San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos reduced Mr. Johnson’s damages from $289 million to $78.5 million.
- U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria reduced Mr. Hardeman’s damages from $80 million to $25 million.
- Judge Winifred Y. Smith of California’s Alameda Superior Court cut the Pilliods’ $2 billion award to $86 million.
Bayer Remains Defiant
Bayer’s winless record in Roundup litigation has prompted speculation that a settlement might be coming. Bloomberg estimates that a settlement of remaining lawsuits could cost Bayer $6 billion to $10 billion, or around $600,000 per plaintiff.
But all signs point to Bayer continuing to fight these cases. Following the Pilliod verdict, Bayer issued a statement saying it would appeal the decision. The company also doubled down on claims that Roundup does not cause cancer.
“The verdict in this trial has no impact on future cases and trials, as each one has its own factual and legal circumstances,” said Bayer’s statement. “The contrast between today’s verdict and EPA’s conclusions that there are ‘no risks to public health from the current registered uses of glyphosate’ could not be more stark.”
Bayer is referring to the EPA’s finding that glyphosate is not a carcinogen. But EPA’s conclusion is not the final word on the subject. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) deemed glyphosate a “probable carcinogen” in 2015. Earlier this year, researchers from the University of Washington concluded that glyphosate-based herbicides are associated with an increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
EPA, furthermore, has been accused of having a cozy relationship with Monsanto that influenced its glyphosate safety evaluation. Court documents describe the former manager of EPA’s pesticide division bragging to a Monsanto executive during a 2015 phone conversation that he “should get a medal” if he could block a U.S Health and Human Service Department investigation into glyphosate. EPA has also been accused of using Monsanto-funded studies in its glyphosate evaluation, while internal emails show how Monsanto recruited scientists to ghostwrite papers on glyphosate’s safety.
The Pilliod trial, though, revealed a legal strategy that doesn’t rely exclusively on glyphosate. Lawyers for the Pilliods argued that other chemicals found in Roundup are more toxic than, and have a synergistic effect with, glyphosate. Similar arguments could be used in the next Roundup cancer lawsuits, scheduled for August and September 2019 in St. Louis.
Did You Develop Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma After Using Roundup?
Anyone who used Monsanto’s Roundup and developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma could qualify for compensation.
Sanders Phillips Grossman is a nationally-recognized law firm that represents consumers against the world’s most powerful corporations. We’ve been protecting victims’ rights for over 30 years and have recovered over $1 billion in verdicts and settlements. Contact us today for a free legal consultation.