Jury Awards $1.5B in Roundup User Lawsuit Over NHL Cancer Caused By Weed Killer
A Missouri jury has ordered Bayer and its Monsanto subsidiary to pay $1.5 billion to three individuals diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL) cancer from Roundup, after finding that the company failed to warn users about the risks associated with its weed killer, and recklessly disregarded the health and safety of consumers.
Over the past eight years, Bayer and its Monsanto subsidiary have faced more than 120,000 Roundup lawsuits, each raising similar allegations that former users developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after exposure to the weed killer, either when using the product in an agricultural setting or around the home.
The litigation began to emerge in 2015, when the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) decided to classify glyphosate in Roundup as a probable cancer-causing agent.
Although Bayer has agreed to pay billions in Roundup settlements to resolve individual injury lawsuits over the past few years, there are still several thousand unresolved claims involving plaintiffs who rejected settlement offers, as well as new claims that continue to be filed as former users develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
In recent weeks, Bayer and Monsanto have lost a number of jury trials. In late October, a San Diego jury awarded a former land surveyor $332 million in compensatory and punitive damages, which was the third Roundup verdict returned against Bayer and Monsanto within a month. The verdict came days after a Pennsylvania jury awarded a man $175 million for Roundup non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and another $1.25 million verdict in St. Louis in early October.
A fourth trial, held in Cole County, Missouri, involving three plaintiffs, ended in a $1.5 billion verdict late last week, involving non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma claims by Valorie Gunther, of New York, Jimmy Draeger of Missouri, and Daniel Anderson of California. The jury awarded the three a total of $61.1 million in compensatory damages, and then added another $500 million in punitive damages for each of the plaintiffs, to punish the companies and deter similar conduct in the future.
Each plaintiff indicated they had used Roundup weed killer on their lawns and gardens for years, without being warned that the glyphosate-based weed killer increased their risk of cancer.
The verdict is the largest returned against a U.S. corporation so far in 2023. However, experts expect the punitive damages award to be reduced on appeal. A similar California verdict, issued in 2019 for $2 billion, was later cut to about $87 million by a higher court, before it was ultimately upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
November 2023 Roundup Lawsuit Update
While the outcome of this latest trial will not have any binding impact on other claims, it was being closely watched to help gauge how juries in state courts nationwide may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the remaining litigation.
Most of the U.S. case are currently pending in Missouri state court, where Monsanto’s U.S. headquarters are located and it remains a major employer.
In addition to the state court litigation, hundreds of claims are currently centralized in the federal court system before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in the Northern District of California, where several large waves of claims are being prepared for remand to different federal district court for trial.
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