Bayer AG lost its third consecutive Roundup cancer verdict, and the amount the jury awarded dwarfs the total of the past two verdicts combined. Jurors in an Oakland, California courtroom awarded each side of a California couple $1 billion in punitive damages over accusations that their decades-long use of Roundup on their property led to both of them developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
One juror told reporters that the massive $2 billion verdict was rendered in an effort to have a “punch-in-the-gut” effect on Bayer. Originally created by Monsanto, Roundup became a part of Bayer’s catalog when the company bought Monsanto in a deal worth some $63 billion. A $55 million compensatory award was also given, as it can be assumed that the $2 billion award will be significantly reduced on appeal. Bayer is currently appealing the awards in the other two trials it has lost as well.
The corporation continues to rely on the same refrains it has used since the safety of glyphosate; the main active ingredient in Roundup, was called into question. Bayer says that study after study has shown that glyphosate is safe to use and its efforts to push that narrative forward have only been bolstered by a recent EPA finding that glyphosate is non-carcinogenic. The source of many of those studies, however, are suspect at best as Dewayne Johnson’s Roundup cancer trial showed that it was Monsanto itself that was funding the research and, in some cases, even writing the studies and conclusions.
“They said it was as safe as table salt. It’s so safe you can drink it,” says John Barton who farmed cotton in a town just outside Bakersfield, California. Barton is part of one of the many multi-district litigation plaintiffs representing groups of the 11,000 plaintiffs seeking justice over lives impacted, shortened, or taken by Monsanto’s secrecy over the dangers of the world’s most popular weed killer. As summed up by Brent Wisner, vice president and partner at a law firm that has been involved in all three winning Roundup cancer lawsuits, “we’re not suing them for the fact that their product causes cancer. We’re suing them because they didn’t tell people that it causes cancer.”
As is the case with so many other matters, the Roundup cancer matter shows that sometimes it’s not really just about the crime. It’s the coverup that makes it so much worse.