Jury Finds Roundup Weedkiller Caused Man’s Cancer

Bayer was dealt a huge blow on March 19 when a San Francisco federal jury unanimously agreed that Roundup weed-killer caused a man’s cancer. [1]

It is the second time a jury decided in favor of a plaintiff who had alleged that the main ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

It took the jury 5 days of deliberation to reach the conclusion that Roundup was a “substantial factor” in causing non-Hodgkin lymphoma in Edwin Hardeman, 70, who hails from Sonoma County, California. The plaintiff was diagnosed with the disease in 2015. [1] [2]

In August, another San Francisco jury determined that Roundup caused cancer in DeWayne Johnson, a school groundskeeper who had been exposed to high levels of Roundup on the job. In that case, the jury awarded Johnson $289 million. However, that amount was later reduced to $78 million. [1]

Johnson’s condition has been described as “terminal,” however, Hardeman’s cancer is in remission. He testified that he sprayed Roundup for nearly 3 decades to kill poison oak on his 56-acre tract in Forestville, often getting the weedkiller on his hands or inhaling it. [2]

Lawyers for Hardeman and other plaintiffs accuse Monsanto of hiding evidence of the carcinogenic nature of glyphosate from its users and of “ghost-writing” some of the purported favorable study results.

Read: Judge OK’s Controversial Evidence in Roundup-Herbicide Trials

Hardeman’s lawyers, Aimee Wagstaff and Jennifer Moore, said in a statement after the verdict:

“Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup.

Instead, it is clear from Monsanto’s actions that it does not particularly care whether its product is, in fact, giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue.”

Monsanto, the maker of Roundup at the time both Hardeman and Johnson were exposed, was acquired by Bayer in June 2018. [1]

Hardeman’s case is 1 of 3 “bellwether” trials scheduled before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria. The case could set a precedent that helps lay out the framework for the sizes of settlements in future cases. [2]

Bayer said in a statement March 19 that it is disappointed with the verdict, “but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer.”

The statement goes on to say:

“We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto’s conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman’s cancer.”

The jury’s next step will be to decide how much Hardeman should be awarded in liability and damages.

About 10,000 Roundup lawsuits are awaiting trial, including more than 750 that have been consolidated in San Francisco’s federal court. [1][2]

Sources:

[1] NPR

[2] San Francisco Chronicle