After losing the first three cases that have completed trial, Bayer AG won its first jury verdict over claims that Roundup weed killer causes cancer. Not only was the trial different because of the outcome, it also marks the first trial in which the plaintiff is a child.
Ezra Clark was four years old in 2016 when he was diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the type of cancer over 125,000 individuals have alleged that they developed because of exposure to the glyphosate-based weed killer. Clark’s mother, Destiny Clark, filed a complaint in a Los Angeles County, CA court, which stated that Ezra’s aggressive, lymph-node-attacking cancer, Burkitt’s lymphoma, was caused by the child’s exposure to the herbicide/pesticide when she sprayed it on her property.
But the jury determined that the boy’s disease was not caused by Roundup. What made the verdict, announced Oct. 5 even more unusual, according to plaintiff’s attorneys, is that “the jury was asked only whether the boy’s exposure to Roundup caused [Ezra’s] cancer. There was no evidence of Monsanto’s conduct allowed,” said a statement from the attorneys via Phys.org.
Clarks’ attorneys are considering grounds for an appeal while a statement from Bayer read, “We have great sympathy for Ezra Clark and his family, but the jury has carefully weighed the scientific evidence on this case and concluded that glyphosate is not the cause of his illness.”
Monsanto was named as the original defendant in the complaint. The company was acquired by Bayer in 2018 for $63 billion. The sale was finalized only one month before a California jury awarded a retired school groundskeeper who accidentally spilled Roundup while landscaping school property $289 million; his award was later reduced to $20.5 million.
In the second Roundup trial, held in federal court, a jury awarded Edwin Hardemann $80 million. That award was later reduced to $20 million.
Bayer’s third loss ended with a California appeals court affirming an $86 million verdict for Roundup users Alberta and Alva Pilliod of Livermore, CA. Their reduced lower court award was a staggering $2 billion.
Monsanto’s owner has resolved roughly 95,000 Roundup claims with an $11 billion settlement, however, approximately 30,000 claims remain unresolved. Bayer’s plans to resolve future lawsuits for an additional $2 billion have been rejected two times by a federal judge.
Bayer recently announced that it would replace the active ingredient in Roundup, removing glyphosate from the formulation. The company will also yank glyphosate-based weedkillers from stores by 2023. Glyphosate-based Roundup will still be available for agricultural usage after that time.