Earlier today, a jury concluded that Monsanto’s Roundup caused an elderly couple to suffer non-Hodgkin lymphoma after years of using the herbicide. The jury awarded Alberta and Alva Pilliod a combined total of $2.055 Billion in damages.
Today’s verdict in Pilliod v. Monsanto was the third consecutive loss suffered by Bayer AG, which acquired Monsanto in June 2018. All three juries found that the glyphosate-based roundup can cause cancer and that Monsanto covered up that fact. In March, another California jury awarded $80 million in damages to Edwin Hardeman for failure to warn of the cancer risks. Last year, another California jury awarded DeWayne Lee Johnson, $289 million. (That verdict was subsequently lowered by the judge to $78 million.) Given that there are more than 13,000 lawsuits still pending, the worst may be yet to come.
The jury deliberated for less than two days after 17 days of trial testimony.
According to U.S. Right to Know (a nonprofit research group), “[i]n ordering punitive damages, the jury had to find that Monsanto ‘engaged in conduct with malice, oppression or fraud committed by one or more officers, directors or managing agents of Monsanto’ who were acting on behalf of the company.”
The evidence in this case included the fact that Monsanto failed to conduct any epidemiology studies to determine the cancer risks for people who used glyphosate and also made extensive efforts to hide Roundup’s cancer risks from the public. In addition, the evidence included a trove of documentary evidence including internal emails, reports and other documents that revealed, among other things, that the Trump Administration, including Trump’s EPA, stated “We have Monsanto’s back”.
The EPA tried to cover for Monsanto when it found that Roundup is safe for humans and kept it on the market even though it has been banned in other countries.
Obviously, the jury saw through Monsanto’s deception and the political corruption. Apparently, the jury relied on the numerous scientific studies that showed, according to the Pilliods’ attorneys, proof that Roundup can cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Even worse than the harm that Roundup has caused thousands of people who innocently sprayed it on their crops or their gardens, scientists working for the FDA have discovered significant levels of glyphosate in a number of common US foodstuff, including granola, crackers and corn, according to emails intercepted by The Guardian.