Posted on May 14, 2019, 4 p.m.
In a third recent California court decision involving Monsanto, a Bayer subsidiary, a couple was awarded more than $2 billion in a verdict against the company, saying that the weed killer Roundup had caused their cancer.
The court ruled that the couple Alva and Alberta Pilliod contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma because of their use of the glyphosate based herbicide; each person was awarded $1 billion is punitive damages and an additional $55 million in collective compensatory damages, however experts believe the amount will be significantly reduced on appeal.
This verdict is only the third of such legal setback for the company since 2018, in a long line of some 13,000 cases waiting for their day in court. In March a man was awarded $80 million from a San Francisco jury; and in August 2018 another San Francisco jury awarded $289 million to a fourth plaintiff which was later reduced by a judge to payout $78 million. A trial is scheduled for August in St. Louis after three jury verdicts in California.
Bayer is appealing the verdicts against Roundup, and insist that there is no link between the herbicide and all of the plaintiff’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In a statement the company said, “Bayer is disappointed with the jury's decision and will appeal the verdict in this case, which conflicts directly with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's interim registration review decision released just last month, the consensus among leading health regulators worldwide that glyphosate-based products can be used safely and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic, and the 40 years of extensive scientific research on which their favorable conclusions are based."
Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group said, "The cloud hanging over Bayer will only grow bigger and darker, as more juries hear how Monsanto manipulated its own research, colluded with regulators and intimidated scientists to keep secret the cancer risks from glyphosate."
A United Nations sponsored scientific agency declared Roundup to probably cause cancer four years ago; findings from the International Agency for Research on Cancer sent Monsanto into launching fierce campaigns in attempts to discredit this conclusion.
“Internal company emails, released as part of a lawsuit against the company, show how Monsanto recruited outside scientists to co-author reports defending the safety of glyphosate, sold under the brand name Roundup. Monsanto executive William Heydens proposed that the company 'ghost-write' one paper. In an email, Heydens wrote that 'we would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit & sign their names so to speak.' Heydens wrote that this is how Monsanto had 'handled' an earlier paper on glyphosate's safety.”
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