Our new Roundup lawsuit update highlights a decision in the third bellwether trial in the Roundup multidistrict litigation. A 12-person jury in Philadelphia unanimously awarded the plaintiff a staggering $2.25 billion, finding that John McKivison’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was caused by his use of Monsanto’s weed killer for 20 years on his property. The verdict was comprised of $250 million awarded for compensatory damages and $2 billion for punitive damages.
At the trial, plaintiff’s counsel maintained that Monsanto was aware of the dangers inherent in the use of the allegedly carcinogenic herbicide glyphosate in its Roundup weed killer and failed to warn consumers of any risks.
In response, counsel for Monsanto argued that there are no epidemiological or scientific studies that support the premise that Roundup causes cancer, noting the decision by the European Commission last year that “based on an assessment of all available information, there is currently no evidence to classify glyphosate as being carcinogenic.” (emphasis in original).
They also pointed to the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency, not Monsanto, controls the labeling of any potentially carcinogenic components to be applied to products. Bayer, Monsanto’s parent company has stated it will appeal the verdict, writing in an email that the jury’s verdict “conflicts with the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence and worldwide regulatory and scientific assessments” of Roundup.
The January 26 verdict follows two other plaintiffs’ verdicts in bellwether trials held in Philadelphia. On October 31, 2023 a jury awarded $175 million to a plaintiff who alleged his use of Roundup caused his cancer, including a $150 million punitive damages award. On December 6, another jury awarded $3.5 million to a plaintiff who linked her use of Roundup to her development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
To date since 2018 there have been eighteen verdicts in the Roundup litigation spanning the country. Ten verdicts have been in favor of Bayer/Monsanto, nine in a row in 2023 and most recently, eight in favor of the plaintiffs; trials have been held in Pennsylvania, Missouri, California and Oregon with more scheduled for 2024.
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