Friday, March 29, 2019

Agribusiness 'negligent' about herbicide risks

Monsanto loses second consecutive case that finds Roundup causes cancer, this time for $80 million 

A federal jury in San Francisco slapped an $80 million judgment against Monsanto this week for causing a Sonoma man's cancer through Roundup.

The six-person jury deliberated only one day. 

Its verdict, that Monsanto had been "negligent by not using reasonable care" to warn of the risks of the herbicide, was unanimous. 

Edwin Hardeman
The award against Monsanto, now owned by Bayer AG, which intends to appeal, included $75 million in punitive damages, $5 million in compensation and $200,000 for medical expenses for 70-year-old Edwin Hardeman, a retiree who'd contracted non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a blood cancer, after more than two decades of using Roundup to kill weeds on his 56-acre property.

According to an online story by Amanda Bronstad in's The Record, Hardeman's attorneys, Aimee Wagstaff and Jennifer Moore, issued a statement after the verdict asserting that "it is clear from Monsanto's actions that it does not care whether Roundup causes cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about Roundup."

The lawyers noted that "it speaks volumes that not one Monsanto employee, past or present, came live to trial to defend Roundup's safety or Monsanto's actions," the article continues.

Bayer, through a statement, claimed that "over four decades of extensive science and the conclusions of regulators worldwide…support the safety of our glyphosate-band herbicides," which the company continues to insist "are not carcinogenic."

The World Health Organization's cancer arm, however, has certified that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic to humans."

The federal verdict, which may be as bellwether for 800 other lawsuits against Monsanto, follows a case in a San Francisco Superior Court in which jurors awarded $289 million, which was cut to $78 million by the judge.

Another case against the agribusiness was scheduled to start today in Alameda County Superior Court. Plaintiffs are Alva and Alberta Pilliod, both of whom contracted non-Hodgkin's lymphoma after decades of using Roundup.

Information on other verdicts against major corporations can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

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