Fourth Roundup Cancer Trial Drags On

Legal News

Earlier this month, Bayer was handed its first Roundup cancer defense verdict in a jury trial. This particular trial was the fifth Roundup lawsuit that reached trial. The case involved a plaintiff’s claim that her young son developed a rare form of cancer called Berkitt’s lymphoma, which is a sub-type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But a jury found that the plaintiff failed to prove the boy’s cancer was connected to exposure to the glyphosate-based herbicide. 

Meanwhile, the fourth Roundup trial has yet to conclude. The case of Donetta Stephens versus Monsanto, which Bayer acquired in 2018 just before the first Roundup trial began, has been conducted via Zoom because of concerns over the delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The trial has been plagued by technical difficulties, which is a main reason why this trial has taken longer to conclude than Clark v. Monsanto, the fifth trial. 

According to US Right to Know, earlier this week, an expert witness for the plaintiff testified that Stephens’ regular use of Roundup “vastly exceeded the exposure scientific research shows more than doubles the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).”

The expert witness, a toxicologist named William Sawyer, previously testified in other Roundup trials, including the third Roundup trial, in which a jury awarded a California married couple, the Pilliods, with $2 billion, which was later reduced to $87 million by an appeals court judge. 

Thus far in the Stephens v. Monsanto trial, which is being held in Superior Court of San Bernardino County, California, cancer experts from both sides have testified as well as the plaintiff and her son. 

In other Roundup news, a judge recently ruled that two retirement pension funds can proceed in their class action lawsuit against Bayer/Monsanto. Investors that are in the  Grand Rapids, Michigan-based retirement investment groups allege that Bayer should have issued a warning about its litigation risks when it acquired Monsanto. Two months after the acquisition was finalized, the first trial ended in a plaintiff verdict and award of $289 million for a former Bay Area school groundskeeper, Dewayne Lee Johnson. 

After Johnson’s victory, Roundup litigation exploded, eventually reaching more than 125,000 filed suits. Bayer last year settled approximately 95,000 suits but approximately 30,000 plaintiffs have refused to settle and will try to receive a better outcome through the court system. 

Bayer recently announced it would cease selling Roundup for commercial sales in 2023 and will replace glyphosate in its herbicidal products with another active ingredient. The discontinuation of Roundup will not affect the agricultural sector. 

In order to resolve future Roundup litigation, Bayer has brought forth two different proposals but both were rejected by the judge overseeing the consolidation of federal cases.


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