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March 27, 2019

Jury Awards $80M Roundup Verdict Against Monsanto

A San Francisco jury returned with an $80 million Roundup verdict for a California man who says Monsanto’s popular weed killer caused cancer and that the company actively concealed the risks from the public.

Earlier this month, the same six-person jury sided with plaintiff Edwin Hardeman on his claims that Roundup was a “substantial” factor in his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL).

The 70-year-old Sonoma County man received his NHL diagnosis in February 2015. According to his lawsuit, Hardeman used Roundup on his 56-acre property for more than two decades. He maintains that he could have avoided developing the devastating disease if Monsanto had issued proper warnings.

Monsanto and Bayer are planning to appeal the Roundup verdict. However, there is overwhelming evidence, including regulatory and scientific study manipulation, that Monsanto went to great lengths to hide Roundup’s risks to the detriment of consumers worldwide.

"It is clear from Monsanto's actions that it does not care whether Roundup causes cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about Roundup," Hardeman’s law firm said in a statement. "Today, the jury resoundingly held Monsanto accountable for its 40 years of corporate malfeasance and sent a message to Monsanto that it needs to change the way it does business."

Roundup Litigation

Currently, there are more than 11,000 additional Roundup lawsuits pending throughout the nation’s courts. They all involve similar allegations that Monsanto hid the cancer risks associated with its popular weed killer to preserve market share.

Hardeman’s case is the first to go to trial in the federal litigation. However, a California state-court jury awarded a $289 million Roundup verdict in 2018 to a former school groundskeeper who was dying from NHL after spraying Roundup regularly for years. Initially, the jury Roundup verdict for the plaintiff included $39 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages to punish Monsanto for actively endangering consumers for the sake of sales.

The trial judge drastically reduced the jury award. However, the remaining final judgement of $78.5 million still sent a strong message to Bayer and its investors about how juries are likely to respond to similar evidence that its Monsanto acquisition concealed the Roundup cancer risk for decades.

After Hardeman’s trial, at least two more federal bellwether claims are going to trial this year. Numerous of state court cases are going to trial as well throughout 2019 unless Bayer begins negotiating Roundup settlements to resolve the litigation.

State Court Roundup Trial

A separate Roundup lymphoma trial at the state-court level began in California this past week over allegations that a married couple developed NHL after spraying the controversial weed killer for years.

The court expedited Alva and Alberta Pilliod’s Roundup lymphoma trial as they are both dying from NHL. The couple allege they could have avoided the fatal disease if Monsanto had disclosed Roundup’s significant cancer risks.

The Pilliod’s lawsuit indicates that the couple have been married for 48 years. They began routinely spraying Roundup at their residence and rental properties in 1982.

“On average, the Pilliods sprayed Roundup about fifty days per year. In total, the Pilliods sprayed Roundup for approximately 1,500 days,” the brief stated. “The Pilliods had always viewed Roundup as a safe product based on advertisements from Monsanto showing people using Roundup in shorts and t-shirts.”

The couple in the Roundup lymphoma trial are seeking damages from Bayer acquisition Monsanto for deliberately failing to warn about risks to preserve profit margins for its popular weed killer.

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