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Jury awards $80 million to cancer patient in Calif. Roundup case


Because lawyers convinced a California jury that Roundup was a substantial factor in Edwin Hardeman’s cancer, the plaintiff is being awarded more than $80 million in damages — just over $5 million in compensatory damages and $75 million in punitive damages. The payout is similar in total, though not in split, to what another California man received last year in a related case.

Hardeman, 70, has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and his lawsuit against Bayer, the company that acquired Monsanto, advanced through the first phase of the case last week, which relied on an examination of the data presented and the lawyers’ arguments to see whether the glyphosate-based Roundup played a major role in Hardeman’s illness. The second phase focused on the question of the manufacturer’s legal responsibility, and what damages, if any, should be awarded.

This case is often being cited as a “bellwether” case, one that could set the tone for hundreds (or potentially thousands) of lawsuits related to Roundup. 

Bayer responded late Wednesday to the verdict, saying, “We are disappointed with the jury’s decision, but this verdict does not change the weight of over four decades of extensive science and the conclusions of regulators worldwide that support the safety of our glyphosate-based herbicides and that they are not carcinogenic. The verdict in this trial has no impact on future cases and trials, as each one has its own factual and legal circumstances.”

Nearly all scientific bodies and associated research have affirmed the safety of glyphosate.

Last year, a jury in San Francisco initially awarded another man, Dewayne Johnson, $289 million in a case related to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and glyphosate-based products, but the judge later slashed the punitive damages levied against Monsanto in that case to $39 million, down from $250 million (and left another $39 million in compensatory damages intact). In that case, the jury said that the company deliberately failed to warn consumers or regulators about the product’s risks. Monsanto has appealed.

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