April 3, 2019 — Monsanto attorneys’ strategy to split a trial into two phases backfired with an $80 million jury verdict in favor of a man who developed lymphoma after using Roundup weed-killer, according to legal experts.
The trial was split into two parts. In the first part, the jury unanimously agreed that Roundup had likely been a substantial factor in causing plaintiff Edwin Hardeman’s lymphoma. In the second part, the jury unanimously agreed that Monsanto failed to warn him about the risk.
Hardeman was awarded over $80 million in compensation, including $75 million in punitive damages.
Bayer acquired Monsanto last year for $63 billion. Last week, the company said there are “significant” grounds for challenging the verdicts, and they plan on appealing.
The problem for Monsanto is that two verdicts are more difficult for Monsanto to challenge in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals — especially since the jury’s findings against Monsanto were consistent.
Monsanto may succeed in cutting most of the punitive damages and some of the compensatory damages, but it will be difficult for Monsanto to challenge the jury’s verdict that Roundup likely caused Hardeman’s cancer.
The trial follows another major loss for Monsanto last year, when a jury awarded $289 million to a groundskeeper who developed lymphoma after using Roundup and Ranger Pro herbicides. Monsanto is facing around 11,200 lawsuits alleging that Roundup causes cancer.
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