$1.56 Billion Jury Verdict in Roundup Trials for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

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Last week, Bayer AG learned it must pay four plaintiffs $1.56 billion after a jury decided Monsanto was liable for Roundup-caused injuries, including cancer. Complaints claimed negligence, design defects, and failure to warn of the potential dangers of using the popular herbicide.

Plaintiffs Valorie Gunter, Jimmy Draeger, and Daniel Anderson were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, allegedly caused from using Roundup.

The Missouri jury awarded a total of $61.1 million in compensatory damages to reimburse them for illness-related losses, such as out-of-pocket medical expenses, lost wages, medical care, pain and suffering, and others.

In addition, each plaintiff is to receive $500 million in punitive damages, aimed at deterring Bayer and others from repeating their conduct in the future.

“Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is recognized as a probable human carcinogen by the World Health Organization,” said Levin Papantonio Rafferty Attorney Becca Timmons. “Roundup was Monsanto’s flagship product before it was acquired by Bayer, and its use has exploded globally over the last 30 years.”

“These plaintiffs were able to prove that their exposure to Roundup caused their lymphoma, and they deserve every penny awarded to them by the jury,” Timmons continued. “Bayer continues to sell Roundup without a warning label and is continuing to expose millions of people to Roundup through direct application and through its residues in the foods we eat. No dollar amount could even begin to make whole the people who have suffered from Monsanto and Bayer’s conduct.”

Introduced to the market by Monsanto in 1974, glyphosate landed an important role in the agricultural industry for controlling weeds, eradicating undesirable vegetation, and quickly drying crops prior to harvest.

The chemical destroys most plants, and reems of research have shown the herbicide seriously hurts humans, causing cancer, neurological diseases, endocrine disruption, and birth defects. This is the list of human harms we know about, but scientists still have not charted the full extent of adverse health outcomes from glyphosate exposure.

Things really took off for Roundup makers in the mid ‘90s, when genetically engineered “Roundup Ready” crops were introduced. Thanks to this breakthrough, farmers could spray Roundup Ready corn, cotton, soybeans, and alfalfa with Roundup. This would accomplish their objectives of efficient weed control without harming their crops.

In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) labelled glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The Environmental Working Group (EWG) followed with a call to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asking the agency to require mandatory GMO labeling. EWG President Ken Cook said, “Consumers have the right to know how their food is grown and whether their food dollars are driving up the use of a probable carcinogen.”

By 2016, the “Roundup Ready” innovation had led to a 15-fold increase in the use of glyphosate, according to Environmental Sciences Europe. Around 19% of the world’s use of glyphosate has occurred in the U.S., at over 1.6 billion kilograms, the journal reported.

In 2018, Bayer bought Monsanto and inherited the thousands of lawsuits tied to the alleged harm from exposure to glyphosate. Bayer announced in 2020 it would pay up to $10.9 billion to settle approximately 125,000 filed and unfiled claims.

Roundup herbicide lawsuits claim that significant exposure to Roundup caused individuals to suffer B cell or T cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, including the range of subtypes, like follicular lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, mantle cell lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, and hairy cell leukemia.

The most at-risk populations include farm workers, landscapers, garden center and nursery employees. Exposure includes inhaling glyphosate while spraying, mixing, or cleaning up, as well as through eating food and drinking water that’s been contaminated with weedkiller products like Roundup.