Roundup labels sit on a spool during packaging at a Belgian herbicide manufacturing facility operated by Monsanto Co. in 2016. Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Jurors have sided with plaintiffs in all three cases over Bayer AG’s herbicide Roundup to go to trial so far, finding that glyphosate causes cancer and awarding a total of more than $2.2 billion in damages.
Those results underscore a growing skepticism of juries to trust the science conducted by regulators, which, if it continues, could have profound impacts on the ability of companies to defend themselves in product liability cases, several legal analysts told Bloomberg Environment.
“Over the past 10 years, jurors have become increasingly skeptical of government regulators and the notion that science is pure,” said Allan Kanner, a plaintiffs’ attorney with Kanner & Whiteley LLC who handles toxic tort cases.
Monsanto, which was acquired by Bayer AG last year and which makes Roundup, has been accused of covering up the chemical’s health risks.
The first Roundup verdict came in August 2018, when a state jury awarded California groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson $289 million, which was later reduced to $78 million. Since then, the number of plaintiffs who have filed lawsuits blaming Roundup for their cancers has grown to 18,400, according to Bayer’s second-quarter report released July 30. And the actions have been filed by a wide range of plaintiffs including, just last month, former NFL running back and ESPN analyst Merril Hoge.
Despite losing at trial in each of the three cases to go before a jury, the company remains confident that appellate judges will be more willing to side with the company’s toxicology evidence, which includes findings by both federal and international regulators.
“We continue to believe that we have meritorious defenses and intend to defend ourselves vigorously,” the company said in its report.
But Kanner said that strategy is based on a premise that regulatory experts still hold a deciding influence over jurors.
“That model, which Bayer has used in these first three trials, is based on a world view among jurors that no longer exists, or is rapidly eroding,” he said.
As the number of cases against Bayer mounts, speculation is growing among legal analysts that glyphosate has the potential to prompt a raft of claims globally. MORE
Monsanto is facing thousands of lawsuits claiming its product Roundup causes cancer.
It’s been touted as the next asbestos and compared to the cover-ups by big tobacco companies last century, but agribusiness giant Monsanto insists Roundup doesn’t cause cancer.
Three US juries disagree, and the company is facing 13,400 plaintiffs who claim the most commonly used herbicide in the world is the reason they have non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
It’s what’s called a mass tort litigation, with lawsuits involving multiple plaintiffs against one defendant, in this case Monsanto, and involves multiple trials in different jurisdictions.
Unlike a class action, injuries suffered by the plaintiffs in mass torts aren’t always the same; they are usually similar but can be wider ranging and individualised.
In the US, mass torts against pharmaceutical companies are the most common, but other well-known mass torts include cases like asbestos.
- Roundup is the most commonly used herbicide in the world and its active ingredient is glyphosate
- Agribusiness giant Monsanto has lost three trials in the US over links between cancer and glyphosate
- It’s been ordered to pay out billions of dollars in damages to four cancer patients, with thousands more plaintiffs awaiting trial
This Jan. 26, 2017, file photo shows containers of Roundup, a weed killer made by Monsanto, on a shelf at a hardware store in Los Angeles.Photo: Reed Saxon / Associated Press
An Oakland jury awarded a staggering $2 billion-plus in damages Monday to a Bay Area couple who both came down with cancer after spraying Monsanto Co.’s widely used Roundup weed killer on their properties for more than 30 years.
It’s the third such verdict against Monsanto, all in Bay Area lawsuits, and by far the largest judgment against the company.
Alva Pilliod, 76, of Livermore was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011, and his wife, Alberta Pilliod, 74, was diagnosed in 2015. They had used Roundup to kill weeds on the grounds of three properties they owned in the area, applying it once a week for nine months out of the year. Their lawyer estimated they sprayed 1,500 gallons of the herbicide over three decades. SOURCE
Baltimore is asking a federal judge to force agriculture chemical company Monsanto to pay for cleanup of environmental toxins known as PCBs, following more than a dozen mostly West Coast cities and states that have filed similar lawsuits in recent years.
The lawsuit announced Tuesday doesn’t specify damages, but City Solicitor Andre Davis accused the company and two former divisions it sold off of causing tens of millions of dollars in damages.
The lawsuit says the contamination has caused monetary damages to be determined at trial.
Polychlorinated biphenyls, a type of man-made chemicals used widely in paints, inks, lubricants and electrical equipment until they were banned in 1979, have been linked to cancers and harm to immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems in humans and animals. MORE
How dedicated group of community members fought back against glyphosate use in their community — and won!
As a retired teacher and organic gardener in Ben Lomond, California, he decided to join the Environmental Committee for the local San Lorenzo Valley Water District. The small district serves 7,900 connections with mostly surface water.
Six months into the appointment things were going well. Then, Rick Moran began reading through a proposal titled “French Broom Management Plan for the Olympia Watershed.” He realized that the Water District had used, and was going to again use, the controversial herbicide glyphosate in a “cut and dab” process to kill about 19,000 invasive broom plants. Worse yet, the herbicide would be used near two well heads. MORE