A six-person jury has awarded a California man more than $80 million after finding Monsanto liable in the first federal trial over whether Roundup causes cancer.
The jury said 70-year-old Edwin Hardeman, whose Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is in remission, should receive about $200,000 in past medical expenses, $5.6 million in compensatory damages — including $3.6 million for past pain and suffering — and $75 million in punitive damages. In the first phase of the trial, the jury had found exposure to Roundup was a "substantial factor" in causing Hardeman's NHL.
Specifically, the jury found Monsanto liable on failure to warn, negligence and design defect claims.
It’s the second time in a year that a jury has found against Monsanto. In August, a jury in California state court awarded a former school groundskeeper $289 million, an amount later reduced to $78 million by the judge in that case. Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, is appealing that verdict.
“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 attorney Aimee Wagstaff said in a statement. “As demonstrated throughout trial, since Roundup’s inception over 40 years ago, Monsanto refuses to act responsibly.”
Bayer said it was disappointed in the decision, but added, "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."
Bayer noted that the jury "deliberated for more than four days before reaching a causation verdict in phase one, an indication that it was very likely divided over the scientific evidence. The legal rulings under which the court admitted expert scientific testimony from the plaintiff that it called ‘shaky’ is one of several significant issues that the company may raise on appeal. Monsanto moved to exclude this same evidence before trial."
The company added it has “great sympathy for Mr. Hardeman and his family," but that it "stands behind these products and will vigorously defend them.”
The next trial over Roundup begins Thursday in Alameda County, California, Superior Court. The case is Pilliod v. Monsanto.
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