SAN FRANCISCO—U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria lowered the judgement in the case against Bayer AG and Monsanto companies on Monday, July 15.
Judge Chhabria lowered the judgement from $80.27 million to $25.27 million involving Edwin Hardeman, a man from Sonoma County who stated that Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer caused of his Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Chhabria also rejected the company’s bid for a brand new trial.
Hardeman used the company’s weed killer starting in 1980 to treat oak and weeds on his property, and was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is 2014.
Chhabria upheld the court’s decision to award Hardeman $5.27 million in compensatory damages, but thought that $80 million was “constitutionally impermissible” due to the amount asked.
He also wrote in his decision, “Monsanto’s conduct, while reprehensible, does not warrant a ratio of that magnitude, particularly in the absence of evidence showing intentional concealment of a known or obvious safety risk.”
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.
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 in March 2019. 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.
It is not known whether Hardeman will take the case to the United States Supreme Court.
Written By Kayla Lupoli and Donald Roberts