Monsanto has won its first trial where a plaintiff alleged exposure to Roundup had caused non-Hodgkin lymphoma, after a jury concluded the herbicide was not a “substantial factor” in a child’s NHL.

Destiny Clark, the mother of 10-year-old Ezra Clark, brought the lawsuit. The 9-3 verdict on causation by the jury in Los Angeles County Superior Court brings the trial to a close. Before the Clark case, Monsanto had lost three such trials; another is ongoing in San Bernardino County Superior Court.

Bayer, which bought Monsanto in 2018, said, “The jury’s verdict in favor of the company on causation brings this trial to a successful conclusion and is consistent with the assessments of expert regulators worldwide as well as the overwhelming weight of four decades of extensive science. While we have great sympathy for Ezra Clark and his family, the jury carefully considered the science applicable to this case and determined that Roundup was not the cause of his illness.”

A court brief filed by Destiny Clark said that from November 2011 to August 2012 and from August 2013 to February 2016, Ezra "was directly exposed to Roundup when accompanying his mother ... as she sprayed Roundup to control weeds at the family’s residence."

He also was exposed to the herbicide "when he played in areas that had been freshly sprayed by family members," the brief said. In February 2016, when he was 4 years old, Ezra was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma, "a rare and aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma."

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Plaintiff’s experts "have concluded, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that Ezra’s exposure to Roundup was a substantial factor in causing his NHL," he brief said. "Had [Destiny Clark] known of the risk of NHL associated with the use of Roundup at the time she read the Roundup label prior to starting to use Roundup, she would not have used it."

Monsanto previously lost three other trials, one in federal court and two in state court. In the federal court trial involving Edwin Hardeman, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled for Hardeman, and Bayer has petitioned the Supreme Court for review on the issue of whether the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act pre-empts state tort law claims. 

Amicus briefs supporting the petition have been filed in the Supreme Court by Lawyers for Civil Justice, the Product Liability Advisory Council, the Retail Litigation Center and the Washington Legal Foundation. 

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