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Does Monsanto (Bayer) Have a Silver Bullet?

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Bayer/Monsanto argues that to comply with a plaintiff’s verdict would be a violation of the EPA, which means that the EPA is Bayer’s silver bullet

San Francisco Edwin Hardeman v. Monsanto was the first federal trial and the March 2019  verdict is considered a milestone in the continuing Roundup cancer debate. Hardeman claimed his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was caused by glyphosate in Roundup weed killer and the company knew its product was carcinogenic but deliberately misled the public.

 

First and Second Monsanto Roundup Lawsuit


In the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, six jury members initially awarded Hardeman $80 million, which was later reduced to $25 million by a trial judge. According to Hardeman’s lawsuit, he had used Roundup on his 56-acre property for more than two decades. He was diagnosed with the disease in 2015. (Case. No. 4:16-cv-00525-DMR / MDL Case No. 3:16-md-02741-VC, Hardeman vs. Monsanto Company et al.)

Hardeman’s verdict is the second in the U.S. to find a connection between the herbicide's key ingredient, glyphosate, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In August of 2018, a California state court case and the first Roundup cancer trial resulted in a $289.2 million jury verdict. (Bayer bought Monsanto just two months earler,in June 2018.) The judge overseeing the  Dewayne “Lee” Johnson v. Monsanto Co. trial, however, reduced the award to $78.5 million and Monsanto didn’t waste any time filing an appeal.

In both cases the juries decided that Monsanto, the company that developed the popular Roundup weed killer, deliberately failed to warn consumers or regulators about the product's risks.
 

Bayer’s Silver Bullet


Reuters on December 16, 2019 reported that Bayer has asked a U.S. federal appeals court to throw out a $25 million judgment it was ordered to pay to Hardeman, saying the verdict  “defied regulatory findings and sound science”, adding that the “speculative case” should never have made it before a jury.

Monsanto/Bayer is determined to appeal all decisions that haven’t gone their way, to the extent that the Roudup cases should never have gone to court in the first place. Its argument is that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said, over and over again, that glyphosate is not a carcinogen and therefore poses no risk to human health.

So, if Monsanto had included a label that indicated glyphosate could potentially cause cancer, it would be a violation of the EPA. In that case, Monsanto cannot be held responsible for following the law. In other words, Monsanto is legally unable to issue a warning about Roundup‘s link to cancer because any warning label would conflict with a federal agency.

The EPA in an April 2019 news release reaffirmed its position on glyphosate, saying the agency “continues to find that there are no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label and that glyphosate is not a carcinogen. The agency’s scientific findings on human health risk are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by many other countries and other federal agencies.” 

However, most of those “scientific findings saying Roundup is not a carcinogen was funded by Monsanto itself. As well, Bayer and Monsanto have gone to great lengths and expense to defame the World Health Organization’s (WHO) studies that, since 2015, classified the herbicide called glyphosate as carcinogenic.

Hardeman’s lawyers and other critics have argued that Monsanto has for years suppressed negative studies and worked to promote and “ghostwrite” favorable studies about its herbicide to influence the public and regulators. Attorney Brent Wisner, who represented DeWayne Johnson in the first federal trial, told a jury that Monsanto has long worked to “bully scientists”.

Bayer vows to “vigorously defend” more than 42,7000 Roundup cancer lawsuits pending. Since August 2018 Bayer’s stock took a dive – its value dropped about 23 percent.
 

READ ABOUT ROUNDUP CANCER LAWSUITS

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