21 March, 2019
Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller atomizers are displayed for sale at a garden shop near Brussels, Belgium November 27, 2017. Bayer's reliance on scientific experts' opinions that the main ingredient in Roundup, called glyphosate, was safe may have blinded it to the burden the giant transaction would bring. Another California man was awarded $289 million (217.8 million pounds) in August after a state court jury found Roundup caused his cancer, sending Bayer shares plunging at the time.
In the next phase of the federal trial, Mr Hardeman's lawyers will present evidence, including internal Monsanto documents, that could show the company knew the dangers of Roundup and glyphosate and attempted to cover them up.
Glyphosate is the most heavily used herbicide in the world. They predict that paying to resolve more than 11,000 related USA lawsuits, which Bayer inherited with its acquisition of Monsanto Co., could cost as much as US$5 billion. Bayer now faces some 11,000 suits from cancer patients and their families, and its second loss paints a dire picture.
After an earlier case went against the company, the latest verdict came as more of a surprise because the judge and trial setup appeared to favor Bayer. In August, another San Francisco jury determined Roundup had caused cancer in a former groundskeeper. The verdict was cut to $78.5 million on appeal.
It's unclear how much the jury might award Hardeman in damages, if anything at all.
Last year, another jury found that Roundup had caused the cancer of a school janitor in California. The jury found that it was on Tuesday.
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The decision in Edwin Hardeman's case is a landmark verdict that could impact hundreds of other similar lawsuits, according to The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom.
Bayer has argued that decades of studies and regulatory assessments have shown the weed killer to be safe for human use. There is an extensive body of research on glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides, including more than 800 rigorous studies submitted to EPA, European, and other regulators in connection with the registration process, that confirms that these products are safe when used as directed.
Chhabria has scheduled another bellwether trial for May and a third trial is likely to take place this year.
It added, "Regardless of the outcome, however, the decision in phase one of this trial has no impact on future cases and trials because each one has its own factual and legal circumstances". While the first phase focused on whether Roundup caused Hardeman's cancer, the second phase - which begins Wednesday - focuses on whether Monsanto is liable.
"We are very pleased that the jury unanimously held that the Roundup caused the non-Hodgkin lymphoma", Hardeman's attorney Jennifer Moore said.
Hardeman's case was a so-called bellwether trial meant to help determine the range of damages and define settlement options for the more than 760 Roundup cases consolidated in the federal court in San Francisco.