A California jury has awarded more than $2 billion to the plaintiffs in a Roundup cancer lawsuit, making it the third verdict against the manufacturers of the popular weed killer in less than a year.
$2.055 Billion in Compensatory and Punitive Damages
On May 13, 2019, a jury at Oakland’s Alameda County Superior Court ruled that a married couple had contracted non-Hodgkin lymphoma from their regular use of Roundup, a glyphosate-based herbicide produced by Monsanto, a subsidiary of Bayer AG. In deciding in favor of the plaintiffs, the jury found that Roundup had been defectively designed, that Monsanto failed to warn of the product’s cancer risk, and that the company also acted negligently.
The jury awarded $18 million to the husband and $37 million to his wife in compensatory damages – payments to plaintiffs for injuries or other incurred losses. The jury also awarded the couple $1 billion dollars each in punitive damages – payments designed to punish defendants for outrageous conduct and/or to deter similar conduct – for a total of $2.055 billion.
Third Successful Roundup Cancer Lawsuit
The verdict in this case represents the third straight trial loss for Monsanto and parent company Bayer over a Roundup cancer lawsuit in less than a year.
In August 2018, the first Roundup cancer lawsuit went to trial in San Francisco. The trial ended with the jury awarding the plaintiff, a 46-year-old former groundskeeper, $289 million – $250 million in punitive damages and $39 million in compensatory damages. (A judge later reduced the award to $78 million.)
In March 2019, a jury in a San Francisco federal court awarded $80 million to a 70-year-old Sonoma resident after concluding that glyphosate – the key ingredient in Roundup – was a “substantial factor” in his non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The next Roundup cancer lawsuit to head to trial is scheduled for August 2019 in a Missouri state court. The trial will take place in St. Louis County, the home of Monsanto’s former headquarters.
More than 13,000 lawsuits have been filed against Monsanto by plaintiffs alleging that Roundup gave them cancer. The suits have significantly damaged Bayer’s stock price since it purchased Monsanto in 2018, before the first Roundup cancer lawsuit had gone to trial.
Research Linking Glyphosate to Cancer
For those who may be thinking about filing a Roundup cancer lawsuit, there is already extensive research linking glyphosate to cancer.
A 1985 memo from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 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.”
One attorney claimed that the interaction between glyphosate and other ingredients in Roundup causes a “synergistic effect” that makes Roundup more carcinogenic. Another attorney argued successfully that Monsanto manipulated public opinion and science to downplay Roundup’s health risks. Documents unsealed in that case suggested that Monsanto had ghostwritten research that was later attributed to academics and that a senior EPA official had worked to kill a federal review of glyphosate.
While it is medically impossible to prove that Roundup caused specific cases of cancer, it is also impossible for Monsanto to prove that the product did not cause instances of the disease. The American Cancer Society reports that most cases of lymphoma are idiopathic, meaning that the cause is unknown.
Given the idiopathic nature of the disease, a Roundup cancer lawsuit plaintiff does not have to prove that the weed killer was the sole cause of cancer in order to establish Monsanto’s liability. The plaintiff only has to demonstrate that Roundup was a “substantial contributing factor” to the illness.
Considering a Roundup Cancer Lawsuit?
If you or a loved one is suffering from cancer that may have been the result of exposure to Roundup, consider seeking out the advice of an experienced attorney, such as the Illinois personal injury attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers.
With over $2 billion recovered for our clients and more than forty years in the business, GWC is one of the premier Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois.