Monday, December 6, 2021

Monsanto appeals a $25.2 million damage verdict against Roundup herbicide to Supreme Court

Monsanto has challenged a $25.2 million award to a cancer patient.

Edwin Hardeman
According to a recent story by Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle, the agribusiness giant told the Supreme Court that the damage verdict in favor of the patient, Edwin Hardeman, who sprayed Roundup on his North Bay properties "should never have gone to the jury." 

The basis of the claim by Bayer, Monsanto's parent company, is that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had concluded that the herbicide, the world's most widely used, was safe.

However, an arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Agency for Research on Cancer, had concluded in 2015, that the main ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, "was a probable cause of human cancer, a finding endorsed by California health officials," the Chronicle piece says.

The court is expected to consider the appeal at its weekly conference Dec. 10.

Monsanto filed the appeal despite it agreeing to replace glyphosate "with another active ingredient for U.S. home and garden sales, starting in 2023, while continuing to market the current version for agricultural use," Egelko's story reports.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a May ruling that upheld Hardeman's damage award, "said the EPA's approval did not carry the force of law, and it did not preclude a judge or jury from deciding whether Monsanto had violated a California law requiring warnings against risks that are 'known or knowable.'" 

Hardeman was diagnosed with lymphoma, a sometimes fatal disease, in 2015 after having used Roundup for 26 years on properties in Galla and Santa Rosa.

A federal court jury in July 2019 found the weed-killer was a "substantial cause" of his cancer. It awarded him, according to Egelko's story, "damages for economic losses, pain and suffering and emotional distress, along with punitive damages against the company for selling a product it knew, or should have known, to be dangerous." 

The article also notes that "state courts, meanwhile, have upheld damages of $21.5 million to Dewayne 'Lee' Johnson, diagnosed with terminal cancer after spraying the herbicide as a groundskeeper for the Benicia Unified School District, and $82.2 million to Alva and Alberta Pilliod of Livermore, who sprayed Roundup on their crops for 30 years."

More information about consumer products that may cause disease 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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