A federal jury in San Francisco awarded Edwin Hardeman, 70, of Sonoma, CA, $80 million in damages because of exposure to Roundup, an herbicide created by Monsanto Co. This is the second time in the past year that a jury has awarded a Bay Area Roundup cancer victim a damage award.
Hardeman developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, claiming that he used Roundup to treat weeds, poison oak, and other overgrowth for years around his property in the San Francisco Bay area.
The Road Ahead
Bayer purchased Monsanto in September, 2016 for $63 billion. That purchase included any liabilities associated with Roundup verdicts. Bayer notes that it plans to appeal the latest decision.
However, this trial is the second of roughly 11,200 Roundup lawsuits that are currently pending throughout the United States. Mr. Hardeman is just one of 1,600 plaintiffs involved in a connected multi-district lawsuit. Bayer/Monsanto will face increased scrutiny as each of these cases makes its way to a jury.
The first verdict was awarded roughly eight months ago for $289 million. A judge later decreased it to $79 million.
The Tipping Point in the Verdict
Although Monsanto says that their active ingredient, glyphosate, is safe, some of the evidence points the other direction. Ken Cook, President and Co-Founder of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), states: “Clearly, the testimony that informed the jury’s decision was Bayer-Monsanto hiding Roundup’s carcinogenic properties, manipulating the science and cozying up with EPA so it would not have to warn consumers of its dangerous product.” EWG is a non-profit group that specializes in research and legal aspects of various environmental issues.
Glyphosate is a widely used herbicide, both in the United States and throughout the world. Its reach extends far beyond those who are groundskeepers and farm workers. Anyone who has had regular exposure over time may be at risk of developing cancer due to exposure. Cancer and Roundup have been linked in various studies.