$80M Roundup Verdict: Jury Finds Monsanto Liable for Man’s Cancer

DW Jury sitting in courtroom TP

Monsanto is liable for a man’s cancer because the company didn’t include a warning label on Roundup about the weed killer’s risk of causing cancer, federal jurors decided Wednesday.

The six-member jury ordered Monsanto to pay $80 million to Edwin Hardeman. The 70-year-old sued the company after the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer determined Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, is probably carcinogenic in humans.

Hardeman used Roundup to control poison oak and weeds on his property for close to three decades. Doctors diagnosed him with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2015. Earlier this month, the same jury decided Roundup was a “substantial factor” in causing Hardeman’s cancer.

“The evidence is overwhelming that Roundup can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. And despite that, Monsanto continues to deny that,” Jennifer Moore, one of Hardeman’s lawyers, told The New York Times after Wednesday’s verdict.

Moore told the Times that the jury awarded Hardeman $75 million to punish Monsanto and deter future wrongdoing. Jurors also awarded Hardeman $5.2 million to compensate him for his past and future suffering and to cover medical bills.

Wednesday’s verdict marks the second time a jury has found Monsanto liable for causing a man’s cancer. In August 2018, a different jury found that the company failed to warn groundskeeper Dewayne “Lee” Johnson of the cancer risk posed by Roundup. The jury ordered Monsanto to pay Johnson $289 million, but a judge later slashed the payment to roughly $80 million.

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Bayer, which acquired Monsanto last year, is appealing both verdicts. Following the verdict in Hardeman’s case, Bayer said in a statement that the verdict has no impact on future cases and trials. Monsanto faces more than 11,000 lawsuits over the weed killer.

“We are disappointed with the jury’s decision, but this verdict does not change the weight of over four decades of extensive science and the conclusions of regulators worldwide that support the safety of our glyphosate-based herbicides and that they are not carcinogenic,” Bayer said in its statement.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles County this month put a temporary ban on Roundup use because of a need for more research on its potential dangers. According to the Environmental Working Group, more than 50 cities and counties have banned the use of the chemical on parks, schoolyards and playgrounds.

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Emily Miller
Written By Emily Miller Editor

Emily Miller is an award-winning journalist with 7 years of professional experience writing and editing content for reputable media organizations across the U.S. She also has 13 years of personal experience as a patient living with Crohn’s disease. Her coverage of U.S. prescription drug prices for Drugwatch has been published or cited by news outlets, including The Hill, Fox Business and United Press International. Some of her qualifications include:

  • Society of Professional Journalists and The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates member
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Health Literacy certificates
  • 2016 Florida Society of News Editors third place winner in Breaking News

7 Cited Research Articles

  1. Bayer. (2019, March 27). Bayer statement on jury’s decision in phase two of California glyphosate trial. Retrieved from https://media.bayer.com/baynews/baynews.nsf/id/Bayer-statement-on-jurys-decision-in-phase-two-of-California-glyphosate-trial
  2. Environmental Working Group. (2019, March 21). LA County Bans Use of Monsanto’s Roundup Weedkiller on County Property Over Health Concerns. Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/release/la-county-bans-use-monsanto-s-roundup-weedkiller-over-health-concerns
  3. Gonzales, R. (2019, March 17). Jury Awards $80 Million In Damages In Roundup Weed Killer Cancer Trial. NPR. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2019/03/27/707439575/jury-awards-80-million-in-damages-in-roundup-weed-killer-cancer-trial
  4. International Agency for Research on Cancer. (2015, December 21). Glyphosate. Retrieved from http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol112/mono112-10.pdf
  5. Jacobs, J. (2019, March 27). Monsanto Ordered to Pay $80 Million in Roundup Cancer Case. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/27/us/monstanto-roundup-california-verdict.html
  6. Smith-Schoenwalder, C. (2019, March 22). Los Angeles County Bans Use of Roundup Weed Killer. U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2019-03-22/los-angeles-county-bans-use-of-roundup-weed-killer
  7. Sullivan, E. (2018, November 1). Groundskeeper Accepts Reduced $78 Million Award In Monsanto Cancer Suit. NPR. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2018/11/01/662812333/groundskeeper-accepts-reduced-78-million-in-monsanto-cancer-suit
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