The German drugmaker is on a losing streak, having this verdict its fourth consecutive loss in court and a complete turn-around after its nine wins. Over its five-year Roundup litigation, this verdict is one of Bayer’s biggest losses. It is also significant in that most all plaintiff wins have been in California.
Just last month a California jury ordered Bayer’s Monsanto unit to pay $332 million to a Mike Dennis, aged 57, a former land surveyor who blamed his cancer on Roundup. An attorney for Dennis told NBC 7 that "Glyphosate, the active ingredient for roundup, is genotoxic. It causes DNA damage once it's absorbed through the skin, and that's what ultimately causes non-Hodgkin's lymphoma."
The jurors in Jefferson City state court awarded former Roundup users James Draeger, Valorie Gunther and Dan Anderson a total of $61.1 million in actual damages and $500 million each in punitive damages over their claims that their non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas were caused by the weedkiller they used for years on their lawns and gardens. Draeger and his wife, a landscaper, used Roundup on their home gardens in Mississippi and in commercial jobs, Utley said. Anderson, a San Diego resident, and Gunther, from New York, used it to kill weeds in their yards, reported Bloomberg. Their attorney said that, “These are the kinds of verdicts Bayer can look forward to in future trials…Monsanto has done wrong for so many years in selling Roundup that it’s a beautiful thing to have a jury recognize that wrongdoing and punish them for it.”
In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs argued that Monsanto officials knew some researchers had found glyphosate to be a carcinogen: they referred to a series of internal memos and documents from the Monsanto corporation documented in “The Monsanto Papers” by Carey Gillam. As well, the internal documents made public during the litigation proved that Monsanto ghost-wrote scientific studies that determined Roundup was safe (when the company knew it wasn’t), paid experts to support those claims, pressured scientists to reverse their previous conclusions that glyphosate could be linked to cancer, and even lobbied EPA regulators—successfully-- to keep from the public that glyphosate was probably harmful to humans.
READ MORE ROUNDUP CANCER LEGAL NEWS
Bayer will appeal the verdicts and still insists that Roundup is safe. It set aside about $16 billion two years ago to resolve more than 100,000 cases over Roundup’s link to cancer, but with verdicts such as this one, and another in 2019 when a California jury awarded a couple over $2 billion, Bayer likely needs a few wins to keep Monsanto afloat.
More Roundup Trials
A Roundup trial is currently underway in Philadelphia with similar allegations. Lawyers for the plaintiff told Bloomberg that closing arguments in the case aren’t expected until later this month or in early December, and three more cases are slated for Philadelphia in the next few months. Also in December, another case in California is scheduled.