An Update on the Status of Roundup Trials
Over the last several months, thousands of lawsuits have been filed against Monsanto, a Bayer company, regarding its popular weed killer, RoundUp. These lawsuits allege that Monsanto has known for over 30 years of a link between the use of Roundup and cancer, yet intentionally failed to warn the public of this risk. Over the past year, there have been three trials against Monsanto for its Roundup weed killer, all resulting in substantial plaintiff verdicts. The plaintiffs in these trials alleged that they developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after regularly using Roundup. Below is a short summary of these verdicts, all of which Bayer is appealing:
Johnson v. Monsanto
In the first Roundup trial, Monsanto was ordered to pay $289 million after the jury found that the weed killer caused Dwayne Johnson’s cancer. Mr. Johnson was a former groundskeeper and used Roundup regularly as part of his job. The Plaintiff alleged that his exposure to the chemicals in Roundup caused non-Hodgkin lymphoma. During the trial, the plaintiff’s attorneys introduced internal e-mails from Monsanto demonstrating how the company ignored experts’ warnings, found favorable scientific analyses and helped to “ghostwrite” research that encouraged the use of Roundup. Though the jury awarded Johnson $289 million, the judge reduced his award to $78 million.
Hardeman v. Monsanto
In the first federal bellwether case in March 2019, a California federal jury awarded plaintiff Ed Hardeman over $80 million in damages. During his two-part trial, Mr. Hardeman alleged that he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup on his 56-acre Santa Rosa property for decades. The jury in this case found that Roundup was a substantial factor in causing Hardeman’s cancer.
Pilliod v. Monsanto
Most recently, in May 2019, a California jury awarded Alva and Alberta Pilliod $2.05 billion in damages. As in Hardeman, the jury found that Roundup was a significant contributing factor of their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This verdict consisted of both compensatory and punitive damages. The jury, in ordering punitive damages, found that Monsanto “engaged in conduct with malice, oppression or fraud committed by one or more officers, directors or managing agents of Monsanto” who were acting on behalf of the company.
Though in April 2019, Judge Vince Chhabria issued an order of mediation to seek a settlement between Bayer and the lawyers representing the thousands of cancer victims who are suing Monsanto, cases continue to be filed. We hope that Bayer will accept responsibility for its actions and work with the Plaintiffs to reach a fair settlement.