Roundup Plaintiff Win
Plaintiff John Durnell had used Roundup since 1996 while maintaining his neighborhood grounds for the Soulard Restoration Project. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma several years later after discovering a painful knot. Durnell’s attorney says he is now in remission from the disease.
Courtroom View Network (CVN) recorded the full trial before Judge Timothy Boyer in the City of St. Louis. Durnell’s attorney told CVN that $1.25 million is smaller than awards in other Roundup trials but it came in the context of a no settlement offer from Monsanto at all leading up to and during trial. He also said that the verdict carries additional significance because it was the first time jurors heard arguments involving supposed carcinogens in Roundup besides glyphosate. Further, he attributed the verdict to cross examinations of Monsanto’s top toxicologist and of the head of the Global Lawn & Garden market, saying that, “Monsanto cannot defend their own documents in a live witness setting.”
Bayer told Reuters that it plans to appeal the ruling. The case is captioned John L. Durnell, et al. v. Monsanto Company, et al., case number 1922-CC00221 in Missouri’s 22nd Judicial Circuit in St. Louis.
Plaintiff Mark McCostlin alleged he developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2017 from spraying Roundup in his yard, when he was 58 years old. McCostlin’s trial, which began September 13, was held in conservative Clayton, Missouri in St. Louis County, seen as less plaintiff-friendly than neighboring City of St. Louis where Durnell’s trial was held. Missouri state court judge Brian May granted a directed verdict in favor of Monsanto on September 28, about a week before closing arguments. (A directed verdict is a court’s denial of the need for the case to go to the jury.)
McCostlin’s attorney told CVN that, “It’s unfortunate that pretrial rulings prevented jurors in this case from seeing and hearing all of the evidence... We are committed to this cause and will continue the fight on behalf of the many cancer victims who deserve justice.”
The St. Louis Record explained that Monsanto accused the plaintiff of failing to present evidence from which a reasonable jury could determine that McCostlin’s Roundup use more likely than not was a “but for” cause of McCostlin’s lymphoma. “Plaintiffs only specific causation expert, Dr. Boyd, testified to the jury only that McCostlin’s Roundup use may have “contributed to the risk” of McCostlin developing NHL [non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma],” wrote Monsanto’s attorney. “McCostlin’s injury (NHL) and its claimed cause (Roundup) were reasonably ascertainable by him before August 14, 2017. Because he did not sue within two years of that date, his claims are time-barred."
The case is Barbara Allegrezza, et al. v. Monsanto Company, case number 19SL-CC03421 in Missouri’s 21st Judicial Circuit. McCostlin was the plaintiff.
Jury Still Out?
READ MORE ROUNDUP CANCER LEGAL NEWS
Bayer settled most Roundup claims against it in 2020 for up to $10.9 billion, but still faces close to 40,000 Roundup-related cases. In other Round-up trials, closing arguments are underway in San Diego and in Philadelphia. Additional trials are also scheduled for next month in Missouri and California.