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Bayer wins second Roundup case in California

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Yesterday, a California jury found that the weedkiller, Roundup, was not the cause of Donnetta Stephens’ non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This is the second consecutive trial that Bayer came out victorious. 

Glyphosate-based herbicides, like Roundup, are one of the most thoroughly studied products of their kind, which is one reason so many growers and others continue to rely on these products to help them safely, successfully, and sustainably control problematic weeds. Nearly all scientific bodies and associated research have affirmed the safety of glyphosate. The fact that the three earlier glyphosate cases Bayer was involved in relied more on emotional testimony rather than scientific findings frustrated many in the agricultural sector.

The trial, which took place at the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of San Bernardino, was to determine if Stephens’ exposure to Roundup between 1985 and 2017 was the cause of her cancer. The jury favored Bayer’s argument and evidence that it was not. 

On its website, Bayer said, “The jury in the Stephens trial issued a verdict in our favor and determined that Roundup is not the cause of Ms. Stephens’ cancer. The outcome of this case follows a favorable verdict in Clark and the plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal in Jimenez and marks the third positive development in the Roundup litigation in recent months.”

However, according to Reuters, the attorney plans to appeal the decision. “Despite everyone’s best efforts, it was impossible to try a coherent case via Zoom with our schedule,” said Fletch Trammell, Stephens’ attorney. “We plan to appeal and look forward to trying the case again in more favorable circumstances.”

Bayer’s involvement in these lawsuits arose after the company acquired Monsanto, which created Roundup, several years ago. Because of the trajectory of the first few cases, Bayer has moved toward settling the majority of pending and future claims against it related to glyphosate. The settlement amount is expected to total more than $11 billion — $9.6 billion for current claims and $2 billion for future ones.

Back in May, Bayer announced a five-point plant to a clear path to closure of the U.S. glyphosate litigation. The plan includes: 

  1. Seek positive ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court
  2. Activate claims program to manage future cases
  3. Continue to manage current cases
  4. Introduce new Lawn & Garden formulations
  5. Promote new safety study website

“Our five-point plan does not include any admission of liability or wrongdoing. Rather, the actions we are taking are a result of the mass tort system in the U.S. We have great sympathy for anyone who suffers from disease, and we understand their search for answers,” Bayer stated. “At the same time, the extensive body of science continues to show that our products are not responsible for the illnesses alleged in this litigation.”

The first win for Bayer came back in October. On October 5, 2021, the jury in the Clark trial issued a verdict in Bayer’s favor. The jury determined that Roundup did not cause the illness of the plaintiff’s child. This verdict brings the Clark trial to a successful conclusion. This was the fifth case to go to trial. 

“As a leader in agriculture, we know we have a heightened responsibility and the unique potential to advance farming for the benefit of society and the planet. We are committed to living up to this responsibility, and our five-point plan to end the U.S. glyphosate litigation will enable us to reach our full potential,” Bayer stated.

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