A federal jury in San Francisco concluded Tuesday that exposure to Roundup was a “substantial factor” in causing a Santa Rosa man’s Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, triggering a second phase of the trial to determine whether Monsanto is liable for damages.

Before returning its verdict Tuesday afternoon, the six-person jury had deliberated for five days without a verdict, leading to speculation there might be a mistrial.

Edwin Hardeman, 70, who used Roundup regularly for more than 20 years, “is pleased that the jury unanimously held that Roundup caused his Non-Hodgkin lymphoma,” his lawyers, Aimee Wagstaff of Andrus Wagstaff and Jennifer Moore of Moore Law Group, said. “Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup.

"Instead, it is clear from Monsanto’s actions that it 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,” they added, quoting virtually word for word a pretrial order issued by District Judge Vincent Chhabria.

In that order, the judge also said "the plaintiffs have presented a great deal of evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of its product. Thus, assuming a jury finding that Roundup causes NHL, there is sufficient evidence for the plaintiffs to argue that Monsanto could have reached this conclusion on its own had it investigated the issue responsibly and objectively."

Bayer, which owns Monsanto, said it was disappointed by the verdict “but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer.” The company also said it is “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.”

Bayer also disputed the notion that the Hardeman trial should be used as a “bellwether” to determine how attorneys handle future trials or whether the company should pursue settlement talks. Each case "has its own factual and legal circumstances,” Bayer said. Monsanto faces more than 9,000 federal and state cases alleging Roundup caused cancer.

Opening arguments in the second phase of the trial begin Wednesday.

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