A recent jury verdict in a Roundup cancer lawsuit has linked Monsanto’s weed killer to the disease. The verdict follows an earlier jury award to a plaintiff who also claimed to have contracted cancer from his exposure to the product.
Roundup a “Substantial Factor” in Cancer
On March 19, 2019, a six-member jury in a San Francisco federal civil court unanimously concluded that glyphosate – the key ingredient in Roundup – was a “substantial factor” in 70-year-old Sonoma resident Edwin Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Hardeman had sued Monsanto, which was acquired by the pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG in 2018, claiming that he developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after using Roundup to spray his properties for 26 years. Hardeman learned he had the disease in 2015.
Following the jury’s verdict, Hardeman’s trial entered its second phase, in which the jury will decide if the company is liable for partly causing his cancer and possibly award damages to the plaintiff. Hardeman’s attorney said his legal team would seek to prove that Monsanto manipulated public opinion and science to play down Roundup’s health risks.
They will argue that Monsanto knew or should have known that Roundup causes cancer and ask that the jury have the company pay Hardeman’s medical bills and additional damages.
According to Hardeman’s lawsuit, “As early as the 1980s, Monsanto was aware of glyphosate’s carcinogenic properties.”
Documents that were unsealed in the lawsuit suggested that Monsanto had ghostwritten research that was later attributed to academics and that a senior Environmental Protection Agency official had worked to kill a federal review of glyphosate.
Second Roundup Cancer Lawsuit to Go to Trial
Hardeman’s lawsuit against Monsanto for Roundup’s alleged cancer-causing properties is not alone. According to an annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, there are approximately 11,200 plaintiffs who claim they developed cancer because of their exposure to glyphosate.
Hardeman’s case is the second Roundup cancer lawsuit to go to trial. On August 10, 2018, a San Francisco jury awarded 46-year-old former groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson $289 million after finding that Roundup caused his cancer.
The award represented $250 million in punitive damages and $39 million in compensatory damages. A judge later reduced the award to $78 million, and the company is appealing the decision.
Research Linking Roundup and Cancer
Hardeman’s lawsuit cites several studies linking glyphosate to cancer. A 1985 memo from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxicology Branch called glyphosate a “possible human carcinogen with limited evidence of carcinogenicity,” while the American Cancer Society has listed the substance as a “probable carcinogen.”
In March 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer released a report that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” As the report states, “For the herbicide glyphosate, there was limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.”
At Dewayne Johnson’s trial, his attorney also argued that the interaction between glyphosate and other ingredients in Roundup causes a “synergistic effect” that makes Roundup more carcinogenic.
Experts note that it is medically impossible to prove that Roundup caused specific cases of cancer, but it is also impossible for Monsanto to prove that Roundup did not cause instances of the disease. According to the American Cancer Society, most cases of lymphoma are idiopathic, which means that the cause is unknown.
Given the idiopathic nature of the disease, a plaintiff in a Roundup cancer lawsuit does not have to prove that the weed killer was the sole cause of his or her cancer in order to establish Monsanto’s liability. He or she only has to demonstrate that Roundup was a “substantial contributing factor” to the illness.
Roundup Cancer Litigation
If you or someone you love is suffering from cancer that may have been caused by exposure to Roundup, you may find that you might benefit from the assistance of an experienced attorney, such as the Illinois personal injury attorneys at GWC Law.
With over $2 billion recovered for our clients and offices throughout Illinois, GWC is one of the leading Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in the state.