A federal jury has ordered Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup weed killer to pay more than $80 million in damages to a California man whose cancer it determined was partly caused by his use of the popular product. According to a news report in The New York Times, the six-member jury found that the corporation should be held liable for the man’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma because it failed to include a label on its product cautioning consumers about the product’s cancer risks.
The case, which was heard in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, is an important milestone in the continuing debate over the health risks of Roundup weed killer, particularly glyphosate, the active ingredient in these products. Monsanto has several similar cases pending. The plaintiff in the California case, 70-year-old Edwin Hardeman, said he used Roundup to control weeds and poison oak on his property for nearly 26 years. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2015.
Negligence and Punitive Damages
The following year, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared glyphosate a possible carcinogen. Last week, the jury issued a verdict saying that Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer was a “substantial factor” in causing Hardeman’s cancer. During the second phase of the trial, jurors deliberated over whether Monsanto was negligent and should be held liable for Hardeman’s cancer.
The jury awarded Hardeman a little over $5 million for medical bills and past and future pain and suffering, and $75 million in punitive damages. Lawyers for the plaintiff said Monsanto had consistently ignored scientific research and overwhelming evidence, which showed the harmful health effects of Roundup. A statement from Bayer, which acquired Monsanto, said the company would appeal the jury verdict while maintaining that Roundup and glyphosate-based herbicides are not carcinogenic.
Justice for Victims
We congratulate the legal team in this case. Our product defect attorneys strongly believe that manufacturers of any product should put consumer safety first. In this case, Monsanto has not done that despite numerous scientific studies that have linked glyphosate to cancer. Last year, a California jury ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages to a groundskeeper who was diagnosed with cancer after using the product as part of his job. That payment was later reduced to $80 million.
It’s not a coincidence that two different juries have made the determination that Roundup causes cancer. There is no question that Monsato should be punished for its extreme negligence in this regard. We are pleased that victims and their are seeking justice in these cases – and receiving it.