Quantcast

Monsanto Seeks to Undo $289M Roundup Verdict as 8,700 Similar Lawsuits Await

GMO
Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller. Mike Mozart / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Monsanto will ask a San Francisco judge on Wednesday to throw out a jury's $289 million award to a former school groundskeeper who claimed the company's glyphosate-based weedkillers, Roundup and Ranger Pro, caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos, who oversaw the trial, has the power to overturn the verdict, reduce the award amount or order a new trial.


The plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson, was the first among 8,700 people in the U.S. who have made similar cancer claims against Monsanto, which is now owned by Germany's Bayer.

The Associated Press reported:

Attorneys for the company say Johnson failed to prove that Roundup or similar herbicides caused his lymphoma, and presented no evidence that Monsanto executives were malicious in marketing Roundup. Bolanos was not expected to rule immediately.

Regulators around the world have concluded on "multiple occasions" that the active ingredient in Roundup — glyphosate — is not a human carcinogen, the attorneys said in court documents. They called the jury verdict "extraordinary" and said it requires "exceptional scrutiny."

A judgement in favor of the company could discourage the other lawsuits and allow Bayer to avoid a "rush to trial after trial," Bloomberg reported. More trials over the controversial herbicide are scheduled for February.

Jonas Oxgaard, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., estimated to Bloomberg that Bayer's market value is discounted by as much as $15 billion due to the jury's verdict.

"Getting the first ruling overturned would be huge for Bayer—likely reversing most of the discount," Oxgaard told the publication.

Johnson's lawyer, Brent Wisner, said the jury made the right decision in August when they awarded his client with $289 million in damages.

"This was a considerate, thoughtful and well-educated jury that looked at the science to conclude glyphosate causes cancer," Wisner told Reuters in August.

"Mr. Johnson's story is tragic and could have been prevented if Monsanto actually showed a modicum of care about human safety," Johnson's lawyers also responded in court documents cited by the AP.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Anita Desikan

The Trump administration is routinely undermining your ability — and mine, and everyone else's in this country — to exercise our democratic rights to provide input on the administration's proposed actions through the public comment process. Public comments are just what they sound like: an opportunity for anyone in the public, both individuals and organizations, to submit a comment on a proposed rule that federal agencies are required by law to read and take into account. Public comments can raise the profile of an issue, can help amplify the voices of affected communities, and can show policymakers whether a proposal has broad support or is wildly unpopular.

Read More Show Less
Alena Gamm / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Katey Davidson, MScFN

Bananas are one of the world's most popular fruits.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The Climate Reality Project

Picture this: a world where chocolate is as rare as gold. No more five-dollar bags of candy on Halloween. No more boxes of truffles on Valentine's day. No more roasting s'mores by the campfire. No more hot chocolate on a cold winter's day.

Who wants to live in a world like that?

Read More Show Less
PxHere

By Lisa Wartenberg, MFA, RD, LD

Honey and vinegar have been used for medicinal and culinary purposes for thousands of years, with folk medicine often combining the two as a health tonic (1Trusted Source).

Read More Show Less
Fabian Krause / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Elizabeth Streit, MS, RDN, LD

Paprika is a spice made from the dried peppers of the plant Capsicum annuum.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Water protectors of all persuasions gathered in talking circles at Borderland Ranch in Pe'Sla, the heart of the sacred Black Hills, during the first Sovereign Sisters Gathering. At the center are Cheryl Angel in red and white and on her left, Lyla June. Tracy Barnett

By Tracy L. Barnett

Sources reviewed this article for accuracy.

For Sicangu Lakota water protector Cheryl Angel, Standing Rock helped her define what she stands against: an economy rooted in extraction of resources and exploitation of people and planet. It wasn't until she'd had some distance that the vision of what she stands for came into focus.

Read More Show Less
Hedges, 2019 © Hugh Hayden. All photos courtesy of Lisson Gallery

By Patrick Rogers

"I'm really into trees," said the sculptor Hugh Hayden. "I'm drawn to plants."

Read More Show Less
BruceBlock / iStock / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Thanks to their high concentration of powerful plant compounds, foods with a natural purple hue offer a wide array of health benefits.

Read More Show Less