Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Man Who Developed Cancer After Roundup Use Awarded More Than $80 Million in Damages

Health + Wellness
Man Who Developed Cancer After Roundup Use Awarded More Than $80 Million in Damages
Plaintiff Edwin Haderman leaves with his wife Mary after a jury said Monsanto must pay him more than $80 million in damages. JOSH EDELSON / AFP / Getty Images

A jury in the first U.S. federal Roundup trial ruled Wednesday that Bayer must pay more than $80 million in damages to 70-year-old Edwin Hardeman, who developed cancer after using the glyphosate-containing weedkiller to control poison oak, weeds and overgrowth on his Sonoma property for years, the Los Angeles Times reported.


Hardeman's trial had been split into two parts. In the first, decided last week, the jury ruled that Hardeman's use of the famous weedkiller, developed by Monsanto in the 1970s, contributed to his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. That decision meant the trial could move to the second phase of determining whether Bayer, which acquired Monsanto last year, was liable. The jury decided Wednesday to award Hardeman $200,000 for medical expenses, $5.6 million in compensatory damages and $75 million in punitive damages, AFP reported.

"Today, the jury resoundingly held Monsanto accountable for its 40 years of corporate malfeasance and sent a message to Monsanto that it needs to change the way it does business," Hardeman's attorneys Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff said in a statement.

The decision comes a little more than half a year after a jury in a California state case ruled that Roundup use caused a Bay Area groundskeeper's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and awarded him $289 million, though that was later reduced to $78 million and is being appealed. University of Richmond Law Professor Carl Tobias told CNN that Wednesday's decision shows the first trial "wasn't a one-off."

Bayer announced it would appeal Wednesday's verdict as well in a statement released Wednesday.

"We are disappointed with the jury's decision, but this verdict does not change the weight of over four decades of extensive science and the conclusions of regulators worldwide that support the safety of our glyphosate-based herbicides and that they are not carcinogenic," the company said.

Many regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have ruled that glyphosate is safe; however, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer found it was "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015.

In the second part of the trial, Haderman's lawyers showed evidence that the company had allegedly sought to influence scientists and regulators about the safety of glyphosate, Reuters reported. In awarding damages, the jury found that Roundup's design was defective, that Monsanto had not warned users of the product's risk and that it had acted negligently.

Hardeman said he was "overwhelmed" by the ruling.

"It hasn't sunk in yet," he told reporters, according to Reuters.

Hardeman's was the first of more than 760 cases pending before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria and was considered a bellwether trial to determine the potential range of damages and settlement options. Chhabria has scheduled another such trial for May and a third will also likely take place this year. All will be split in two parts like Haderman's trial. The decision to split the trial in two was seen by legal experts as beneficial to Bayer.

There are more than 11,200 Roundup trials pending in the U.S. Another California state trial is scheduled to start March 28, and at least two more should take place in Missouri state court in the fall.

Rise and Resist activist group marched together to demand climate and racial justice. Steve Sanchez / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Alexandria Villaseñor

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

My journey to becoming an activist began in late 2018. During a trip to California to visit family, the Camp Fire broke out. At the time, it was the most devastating and destructive wildfire in California history. Thousands of acres and structures burned, and many lives were lost. Since then, California's wildfires have accelerated: This past year, we saw the first-ever "gigafire," and by the end of 2020, more than four million acres had burned.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced a pair of climate-related secretarial orders on Friday, April 16. U.S. Department of the Interior

By Jessica Corbett

As the Biden administration reviews the U.S. government's federal fossil fuels program and faces pressure to block any new dirty energy development, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland won praise from environmentalists on Friday for issuing a pair of climate-related secretarial orders.

Read More Show Less
Trending
David Attenborough narrates "The Year Earth Changed," premiering globally April 16 on Apple TV+. Apple

Next week marks the second Earth Day of the coronavirus pandemic. While a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions has limited our ability to explore the natural world and gather with others for its defense, it is still possible to experience the wonder and inspiration from the safety of your home.

Read More Show Less

By Michael Svoboda

For April's bookshelf we take a cue from Earth Day and step back to look at the bigger picture. It wasn't climate change that motivated people to attend the teach-ins and protests that marked that first observance in 1970; it was pollution, the destruction of wild lands and habitats, and the consequent deaths of species.

Read More Show Less
An Amazon.com Inc. worker walks past a row of vans outside a distribution facility on Feb. 2, 2021 in Hawthorne, California. PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP via Getty Images

Over the past year, Amazon has significantly expanded its warehouses in Southern California, employing residents in communities that have suffered from high unemployment rates, The Guardian reports. But a new report shows the negative environmental impacts of the boom, highlighting its impact on low-income communities of color across Southern California.

Read More Show Less