Roundup on the Roundup Cases
As you may be aware if you have watched television in the past 3 or 4 years, the weed-killer Roundup has been associated with causing cancer, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma “is a type of cancer that begins in your lymphatic system, which is part of the body’s germ-fighting immune system. In non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, white blood cells called lymphocytes grow abnormally and can form growths (tumors) throughout the body.”
The manufacturer of Roundup, Monsanto, has been the target of multiple lawsuits as a result of its negligent design and marketing of this product, including for its failure to warn users of the possible risk of cancer. According to some sources, Bayer, who purchased Monsanto, has already paid out more than $10 billion in settling approximately 80% of the 125,000 injury claims filed to date.
One of the bellwether cases was filed by a California man named Edwin Hardeman. The jury in his trial awarded him $80 million dollars, although the trial judge later reduced that amount to $25 million. Although the award was upheld on appeal, Bayer has not asked for a petition for a writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court to take on the matter, and the Supreme Court has reached out to the United States Solicitor General to get the Biden Administration’s view on the topic.
As a result, Bayer has now stated it will not take part in any further settlement discussions, as it believes there are strong legal arguments to support a Supreme Court review and reversal of the case.
Some of those same legal arguments were presumably presented by the defendants in a recent jury case tried in San Bernardino Superior Court with Judge Gilbert Ochoa presiding. In December 2021, the jury rendered a verdict finding that Monsanto was not negligent in designing Roundup, did not know nor reasonably should have known that Roundup was dangerous when used or misused in a reasonably foreseeable manner, and that Roundup did not fail to perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would have expected it to perform when used or misused in a reasonable foreseeable manner.