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Roundup (Glyphosate) Cancer Cases: Key Documents & Analysis

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(Scroll down to see documents. Also see our Roundup Trial Tracker for detailed updates.)

On June 24, 2020 Bayer AG said it will pay more than $10 billion to settle tens of thousands of U.S. claims brought against Monsanto over claims Roundup and other glyphosate herbicides sold by the company cause cancer. 

The proposed resolution came two years after Bayer bought Monsanto for $63 billion. 

The settlement has been mired in difficulties, and has not been finalized. While some law firms settling with Bayer had firm agreements, other firms did not and in a court hearing in August 2020 alleged that Bayer was reneging on terms of the settlement. 

According to Bayer’s June 2020 announcement, the company was to pay $10.1 billion to $10.9 billion total to resolve roughly 75 percent of the claims by an estimated 125,000 people who allege exposure to Monsanto’s weed killers caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The deal includes plaintiffs who have retained attorneys with the intent to sue but whose cases have not yet been filed, Bayer said.  A payment of $8.8 billion to $9.6 billion was earmarked to resolve the current litigation. 

The remaining $1.25 billion was to be set aside to support potential future litigation settlements, the company said. The resolution of the future litigation has been stymied after U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria rejected Bayer’s proposal that a science panel be established to determine whether or not its glyphosate-based herbicides cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma in place of jury decisions on that question. 

The settlement plan came about a year after Judge Chhabria  ordered Bayer/Monsanto to enter into mediation with plaintiffs’ attorneys. 

Prior to the settlement, there were three trials, one in federal court and two in state courts. The federal trial was  the case of Edwin Hardeman V. Monsanto. That trial was bifurcated at the request of Monsanto, limiting evidence jurors  heard during a first phase to causation only. On March 19, 2019 a unanimous jury decision handed a first-round victory to Hardeman, as the six jury members found that Hardeman’s exposure to Roundup was a “substantial factor” in causing his non-Hodgkin lymphoma. On March 27, 2019 the jury returned a verdict of approximately $80 million, including punitive damages of $75 million.  Judge Chhabria reduced the punitive damages awarded Hardeman to $20 million from $75 million, putting the total award at  $25,313,383.02.   Court/discovery documents are posted below for Edwin Hardeman V. Monsanto. 

Click here for additional documents pertaining to combined MDL cases

Read internal Monsanto documents   As part of the discovery process during the litigation that preceded the settlement, Monsanto had to turn over millions of pages of its internal records. The Monsanto Papers and other court records are shared below, including documents regarding the company’s ghostwriting of an important paper published in the year 2000, and how the company used that “independent” scientific literature to promote and defend its herbicides. 

STATE COURT – Thousands of plaintiffs have made similar claims against Monsanto in state courts. The first trial in the Roundup litigation concluded on Aug. 10, 2018 with the jury ruling that Monsanto’s weedkiller was a substantial contributing factor in causing DeWayne “Lee” Johnson’s cancer, and ordering Monsanto to pay $289.25 million in damages, including $250 million in punitive damages. The judge reduced the punitive damages to $39 million in an order dated Oct. 22, 2018 which put the total verdict at approximately $78 million. Monsanto appealed, seeking to throw out the judgment, while Johnson cross appealed, seeking to reinstate the jury award. The California 1st District Court of Appeal sided with Johnson in finding there was ample evidence to prove his cancer was caused by exposure to Monsanto’s herbicides, but the court lowered his damage award to $20.5 million.  The case number is  A155940.   

In August 2020, Johnson appealed to the California Supreme Court asking it to restore the $250 million in punitive damages awarded to him by a jury. Monsanto also appealed to the state supreme court, asking to throw out the verdict entirely. 

The Johnson appeals hearing was held June 2. 

The most recent trial was Pilliod V. Monsanto. On May 13, 2019, jurors returned a verdict awarding Alva and Alberta Pilliod $2 billion in punitive damages and $55 million in compensatory damages. The judge in the case then cut the total verdict to $86.7 million. Pilliod v. Monsanto was the first case in the California Roundup Judicial Council Coordination Proceedings (JCCP) and the third Roundup cancer case to proceed to trial.  Monsanto appealed the verdict to the California 1st District Court of Appeal,  case number A158228. 

The Pilliods have filed a cross-appeal

    See details at this link.

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