Record $2 Billion Roundup Verdict Against Bayer’s Monsanto in Cancer Case
A California jury agreed with two victims on Monday, May 13, 2019, and ordered Monsanto to pay the couple more than $2 billion for causing their illness and hiding the truth. The jury reviewed thousands of documents, and heard testimony from medical experts, corporate executives, and scientists. In the end the jury awarded a historic verdict against Monsanto for failing to warn people of the dangers of repeated exposure to Roundup, and for deceiving the public as to the potential for harm.
Thousands of people diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma are suing the Monsanto Company (now Bayer), claiming that the world’s leading weed-killer, Roundup, caused their cancer.
Monday’s record verdict was the third time in under a year that juries have decided to send a strong message to the chemical giant that it should be punished for engaging in conduct with malice, oppression, or fraud.
Alberta Pilliod and her husband, Alva, are in their 70s, and have been married for almost 50 years. They began using Roundup in the 1970s around their property in Northern California, where they raised their two children, and now entertain their four grandchildren. The couple continued using the herbicide to kill weeds until just a few years ago.
In 2015 Alberta was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma brain cancer. Four years earlier, Alva had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in his bones that spread to his pelvis and spine.
When Alberta and Alva realized that the Roundup weed-killer they had trusted for decades may be behind their cancer diagnoses, they brought a lawsuit to take on one of the largest chemical companies in the world, Monsanto. They brought their lawsuit to expose the truth about Monsanto and Roundup and the research that showed the chemicals in Roundup caused cancer.
The evidence presented to the jury in the trial showed that Monsanto knew 40 years ago that glyphosate, the key herbicide in Roundup, could cause tumors in animals. The jury learned that Monsanto knew 20 years ago that glyphosate could cause a specific type of cancer: non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The jury learned that, even though Monsanto knew about the link between Roundup and cancer for decades, Monsanto never warned consumers of the risk.
Following a California verdict of $80 million to a man who developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma following decades of Roundup use, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency affirmed its position that Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, posed “no risks of concern” for people exposed to it by any means – on farms, in yards and along roadsides, or as residue left on food crops.
However, Monday’s record verdict of $2 billion followed 17 days of testimony on the scientific evidence relating exposure to glyphosate in Roundup to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The jury heard that the scientific study supposedly showing that Roundup was safe, was actually invalid, and that the scientists conducting the study were engaged in widespread scientific fraud.
The next Roundup trial that was scheduled to begin on May 20 has been cancelled by the federal judge who presided over the March trial in the Northern District of California. Instead, in light of the verdicts against Monsanto, the judge ordered that the parties must submit their disputes to mediation.