SAN FRANCISCO—A San Francisco jury found on Tuesday, March 19 that Bayer AG’s glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer was a “substantial factor” in causing a Northern California man’s cancer, the SF Chronicle first reported. Roundup is currently facing hundreds of similar lawsuits because of its product. Attorneys indicated that this lawsuit could help determine the outcome of the other lawsuits.
Edwin Hardeman, 70, of Santa Rosa was first to challenge Monsanto’s Roundup in a federal trial. He alleged that his exposure to Roundup caused him to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), a cancer that affects the immune system. During the trial, Hardeman testified that he sprayed the herbicide for nearly three decades and at one time got it on his skin before he was diagnosed with cancer.
The verdict was determined after four days of deliberation by a six-person jury in federal court. The lawsuit was filed against Roundup’s manufacturer, agribusiness giant Monsanto. Hardeman was the second plaintiff to go to trial out of thousands across the country who claim the product causes cancer.
The first lawsuit was filed by Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, 46, who was awarded $278 million by a jury. It was later reduced by a judge to $78.5 million. Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after spraying a brand of the company’s herbicide on school property for years.
Bayer denied the allegations in a statement on Tuesday reading:
“We are disappointed with the jury’s initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer. We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto’s conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman’s cancer.”
The trial will move on to a second phase of Hardeman’s case against Monsanto. During this phase, jurors will consider evidence about what the company knew about the herbicide’s carcinogenic properties, its interactions with regulators and potential liability and damages.
Hardeman’s lawyers will present arguments about Monsanto’s influence on government regulators and cancer research. The trial will begin on Wednesday, March 20.