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French farmer Paul Francois outside a courthouse before a 2015 appeal of his case against Monsanto. JEFF PACHOUD / AFP / Getty Images

A French appeals court ruled Thursday in favor of a farmer who has been in a decade-long fight with Monsanto since he fell ill after inhaling a now-banned weedkiller.

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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.

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Edwin Hardeman is the plaintiff in the first U.S. federal trial claiming that Roundup causes cancer. NOAH BERGER / AFP / Getty Images

A second U.S. jury has ruled that Roundup causes cancer.

The unanimous verdict was announced Tuesday in San Francisco in the first federal case to be brought against Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, alleging that repeated use of the company's glyphosate-containing weedkiller caused the plaintiff's cancer. Seventy-year-old Edwin Hardeman of Santa Rosa, California said he used Roundup for almost 30 years on his properties before developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The decision comes less than a year after a jury awarded $289 million to Bay-area groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson over similar claims. The amount was later reduced to $78 million.

"Today's verdict reinforces what another jury found last year, and what scientists with the state of California and the World Health Organization have concluded: Glyphosate causes cancer in people," Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said in a statement. "As similar lawsuits mount, the evidence will grow that Roundup is not safe, and that the company has tried to cover it up."

Judge Vince Chhabria has split Hardeman's trial into two phases. The first, decided Tuesday, focused exclusively on whether or not Roundup use caused the plaintiff's cancer. The second, to begin Wednesday, will assess if Bayer is liable for damages.

"We are disappointed with the jury's initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer," Bayer spokesman Dan Childs said in a statement reported by The Guardian. "We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer."

Some legal experts said that Chhabria's decision to split the trial was beneficial to Bayer, Reuters reported. The company had complained that the jury in Johnson's case had been distracted by the lawyers' claims that Monsanto had sought to mislead scientists and the public about Roundup's safety.

However, a remark made by Chhabria during the trial and reported by The Guardian was blatantly critical of the company.

"Although the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue," he said.

Many regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have ruled that glyphosate is safe for humans, but the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer found it was "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015. A university study earlier this year found that glyphosate use increased cancer risk by as much as 41 percent.

Hardeman's lawyers Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff said they would now reveal Monsanto's efforts to mislead the public about the safety of its product.

"Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup," they wrote in a statement reported by The Guardian.

Hardeman's case is considered a "bellwether" trial for the more than 760 glyphosate cases Chhabria is hearing. In total, there are around 11,200 such lawsuits pending in the U.S., according to Reuters.

University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias told Reuters that Tuesday's decision showed that the verdict in Johnson's case was not "an aberration," and could possibly predict how future juries in the thousands of pending cases would respond.


Gilles Messian / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

There are growing concerns about both the safety and proliferation of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller.

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Pixabay

Glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller that some studies have linked to cancer—is also a secret ingredient in nearly 20 popular beers and wines.

That's the finding of a new study from the education group U.S. PIRG, which found glyphosate in 19 of 20 wine and beer brands tested, including organic labels and brews.

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ArtBoyMB / E+ / Getty Images

A new meta-analysis of glyphosate suggests that people who are highly exposed to the popular herbicide have a 41 percent increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is the world's most widely used weedkiller and has been surrounded by controversy ever since the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified it as "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015.

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India is the world's largest cotton producer. Wikimedia Commons

Update, Jan. 25, this post includes new reporting:

Since the Jan. 8 judgement, new reports have called Monsanto's "patent victory"—and the media's reporting of it—into doubt.

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Dewayne Johnson, the first man to bring Monsanto to trial over Roundup and win, now faces an appeal. JOSH EDELSON / AFP / Getty Images

Tuesday was a big news day for the growing legal movement to hold Monsanto accountable for selling a widely-used weed killer that plaintiffs say gave them or their loved ones cancer.

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Roundup for sale at a hardware store in San Rafael, CA, on July, 9. JOSH EDELSON / AFP / Getty Images

The first trial claiming long-term use of Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller caused the plaintiff's cancer ended with a $289 million jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff, though that was later reduced by a judge to $78 million.

Now, Monsanto's next date in the judgment seat in California has been set for March 18.

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Plaintiff Dewayne Johnson is dying of cancer. He looks on after hearing the verdict to his case against Monsanto at the Superior Court Of California in San Francisco, California, on August 10, 2018, before the award was reduced to $78 million. Josh Edelson / POOL / AFP / Getty Images

A California groundskeeper who won a landmark cancer trial against Roundup-maker Monsanto has agreed to accept $78 million, a significant reduction from the jury's original award of $289 million, the Associated Press reported.

A new trial would have taken place if plaintiff DeWayne "Lee" Johnson did not accept the lessened damages ordered by Judge Suzanne Bolanos of San Francisco's Superior Court of California last week.

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Dewayne Johnson reacts after the verdict to his case at the Superior Court Of California in San Francisco on Aug. 10. JOSH EDELSON / AFP / Getty Images

A San Francisco judge made a surprise ruling Monday and upheld a jury's verdict that Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller gave a California groundskeeper cancer, and that the company failed to warn him of the danger, CNN reported.

Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos had issued a tentative ruling Oct. 10 ordering a new trial over the punitive damages awarded to plaintiff Dewayne "Lee" Johnson, saying he had failed to prove that Monsanto acted with "malice or oppression." After reviewing arguments from both sides, however, Bolanos instead upheld the verdict, but lowered the punitive damages from $250 million to $39 million. A new trial will only take place if Johnson's lawyers don't accept the reduced award.

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