In 2019, Albert and Alva Pilliod, a married couple from Livermore, CA, were awarded $2 billion by a jury in Oakland over claims they developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a result of decades of exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer. The Pilliod’s award was later reduced to $86.2 million by a judge.
On Wednesday, California’s Supreme Court denied Monsanto-owner Bayer AG’s request to review a 2-1 Appeals Court ruling in San Francisco that upheld the Pilliod’s trial win and damage award.
The First District Court ruled that Monsanto knowingly marketed a product that contained an active ingredient—glyphosate—that could pose health risks.
To date, five Roundup cases have reached trial. Monsanto lost the first three, the last of which was the Pilliods. In the first Roundup trial, a former school groundskeeper was awarded $289 million in a California state jury trial. Dewayne “Lee” Johnson’s award has been reduced twice and now stands at $20.5 million. Edwin Hardemann was awarded $80 million by a jury in the second Roundup trial, and the first to be held in federal court. Hardemann’s award was later reduced to $25 million. After the Pilliod case, Roundup won for the first time at trial when a jury found that a child’s cancer was not caused by exposure to Roundup. A Roundup trial is currently underway and has been delayed because of technical difficulties because it is being conducted virtually.
Bayer has settled approximately 80% of 125,000 Roundup claims for $11 billion. The company’s plan to settle any Roundup lawsuits that are to be filed in the future for an additional $2 billion has been rejected by a federal judge who is overseeing the litigation.
Commercial sales of Roundup with glyphosate will cease by 2023, Bayer recently announced. The company will replace glyphosate with a surrogate active ingredient that has yet to be identified. Bayer will still sell glyphosate-based herbicides for use on agricultural areas such as farms and parks.