The case of Dewayne Johnson, the California groundskeeper originally awarded nearly $300 million was historic for many reasons, sending shockwaves through the chemical industry and even causing Bayer’s stock to plummet.
Now, a second man has won yet another historic court case in The Golden State, in a verdict that could open the floodgates even more for lawsuits to be be filed, and won, against Bayer and the former Monsanto Company.
The verdict was just announced in favor of Edwin Hardeman of Santa Rosa, California, who was the first person to challenge Monsanto’s Roundup in a federal trial.
Seventy-year-old Man Wins Unanimous Ruling Against Monsanto
Hardeman, age 70, said that he used the glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide for nearly three decades and at one time got it on his skin before he was diagnosed with cancer, a report from The Guardian detailing the case said.
He alleged that his exposure to the herbicide caused his body to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer affecting the immune system. Hardeman had been using the chemical to control weeds and poison oak on his properties beginning in 1986.
The next phase of the case will determine liability and damages, during which Hardeman’s lawyers will present arguments about Monsanto’s influence on government regulators as well as cancer research.
In the next phase of the case, the jury will weigh liability and damages, and Hardeman’s lawyers will present arguments about Monsanto’s influence on government regulators and cancer research.
During the trial, the 70-year-old Santa Rosa man testified that he had sprayed the herbicide for nearly three decades and at one time got it on his skin before he was diagnosed with cancer. He used the chemical to control weeds and poison oak on his properties, starting in 1986.
The case and winning verdict are considered to be a “bellweather” trial for hundreds of other plaintiffs in the United States with similar claims, the Guardian article said. Bayer, which now owns Monsanto, is facing more than 9,000 similar lawsuits across the country.
Monsanto argued that Roundup is safe to use and does not cause NHL, but the judge shot down their hopes, in large part because of skepticism of the company’s studies, which have been sharply criticized as being biased by many organic lifestyle advocates.
“Although the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto 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.”
Bayer said it expects to come out on top later in the trial.
“We are disappointed with the jury’s initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer,” spokesman Dan Childs said in a statement.
“We are 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.”
Ken Cook, the president of the Environmental Working Group, which releases its annual list of the top 15 “cleanest” fruits and vegetables in terms of pesticide residues along with its dirty dozen list, had the following to say in a blog post.
“Today’s verdict reinforces what another jury found last year, and what scientists with the state of California and the World Health Organization have concluded: Glyphosate causes cancer in people,” said Cook. “As similar lawsuits mount, the evidence will grow that Roundup is not safe, and that the company has tried to cover it up.”
Cook added that Bayer’s purchase of Monsanto could go down as one of the worst business decisions ever made.
“The decision by Bayer to purchase Monsanto, a company with a long history of environmental malfeasance, could go down as one of the worst business decisions ever made,” added Cook. “The day of reckoning for Bayer and its cancer-causing weedkiller is getting closer.”