Couple Awarded $2 Billion After Roundup Weedkiller Blamed for Causing Cancer
Court orders Monsanto to pay a combined $2.05 billion to Alberta and Alva Pilliod
A California couple has been awarded over $2 billion in damages from Monsanto Co. after a court ruled that its Roundup weedkiller caused their cancer.
A Californian jury ruled on Monday that the Roundup weed killer they had been using for more than three decades had caused them to get non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Alva and Alberta Pilliod, of Livermore, were both diagnosed with the deadly illness following years of Roundup weed killer use, their lawyers say.
For chemical giant Monsanto, Roundup’s parent company, the verdict is the third legal defeat in a row.
Monsanto was bought by German drugmaker Bayer last year in a huge $63 billion acquisition.
According to the New York Post, in their suit, they accused Monsanto of “fraudulently representing that Roundup is safe despite scientific evidence linking exposure to NHL.”
A jury in San Francisco Superior Court in Oakland found the company liable after a seven-week trial — citing its active ingredient, glyphosate, as the underlying cause of the cancer.
“They were given an incredibly difficult task having to analyze the highly-complex scientific issues in this case,” said co-lead trial counsel R. Brent Wisner, of Baum Hedlund Law, in a statement after the verdict.
“The jury saw for themselves internal company documents demonstrating that, from day one, Monsanto has never had any interest in finding out whether Roundup is safe,” he explained.
“Instead of investing in sound science, they invested millions in attacking science that threatened their business agenda…
"They took detailed notes, asked incredibly thoughtful questions and in the end, came to understand that the science shows there are serious health hazards associated with Roundup and that Monsanto did nothing to warn people about the risk.”
The first two legal defeats for Monsanto saw verdicts of $289.2 and $80 million, according to Hedlund Law.
Michael Miller, who served with Wisner as co-lead trial counsel, said the couple was able to get more this time around due to a more lenient court process.
The case is now with the jury in Pilliod v. Monsanto. You can see the jury instructions, Alva and Alberta Pilliod's verdict forms, and yesterday's trial transcript here. https://t.co/pWdUdAz6kf pic.twitter.com/Eo64PEywwl— Baum Hedlund Law (@baumhedlund) May 9, 2019
“Unlike the first two Monsanto trials, where the judges severely limited the amount of plaintiffs’ evidence, we were finally allowed to show a jury the mountain of evidence showing Monsanto’s manipulation of science, the media, and regulatory agencies to forward their own agenda despite Roundup’s severe harm to the animal kingdom and humankind,” Miller said.
Verdicts against Monsanto in the Roundup cancer litigation now stand at $2.424 billion — with 13,400 cases still pending in state and federal courts, according to Hedlund Law.
“Mounting evidence suggests that exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer increases the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cancer that starts in cells called lymphocytes, which are part of the body’s immune system,” the law firm says on its website.
“The problem is that Monsanto marketed Roundup as being a safe product for decades, even though the company allegedly knew that a Roundup cancer link existed, along with a host of other serious health issues.
"A number of Roundup cancer studies have confirmed that glyphosate exposure is a probable cause of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers.”