Bayer Wins its First Roundup Case

08.10.2021 - Bayer has won its first case in four US lawsuits charging that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide caused a person’s cancer. A jury in Los Angeles, California, on Oct. 5 rejected a mother’s charge that her spraying Roundup on the family’s property exposed her son to the pesticide and caused him to develop Burkitt’s lymphoma – a form of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

In a 9 to 3 verdict, the jurors decided the evidence was too inconclusive to decide for the plaintiff.  Although the mother herself reportedly suffers from cervical cancer that has metastasized to her brain, this was not part of the case against Bayer/Monsanto.

Fletch Trammell, attorney for the mother, Destiny Clark, presented evidence that he said showed Ezra Clark, now 10 years old, was exposed to the herbicide for about 80 cumulative hours over several years. However, his mention of studies pointing up risks linked to glyphosate herbicides and the lack of warning labels on the packaging was inadmissible under the trial’s rules.

As it focused on only one specific question, whether the child’s exposure to Roundup was a “substantial factor” in his developing lymphoma, the first phase did not address the overall carcinogenic potential of Roundup. A second phase, in which farther-reaching questions such as those examined in the earlier trials would only have taken place if the plaintiff had won the first.

This week’s verdict is the fourth for Bayer, which has been embroiled in litigation over Roundup since buying Monsanto for $63 billion in 2018. The German pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals group is appealing the three cases it lost and also has called on the US Supreme Court to review one of them, in which a jury awarded $25 million in damages to Edwin Hardeman. The California man charged that spraying Roundup on his property caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Press reports said that the plaintiff’s losing the case argued by Trammel was at least psychologically significant as it was one of about 4,000 lawsuits his Houston, Texas, firm is pursuing against Monsanto/Bayer. The lawyer is representing another Roundup plaintiff in a parallel case being heard in the superior court of San Bernadino County, California. Commenting on this week’s setback, Trammel said the Clark case was “very specific” and not of strategic importance to the firm’s litigation strategy.

Bayer has continuously maintained that there no inherent risk associated with the glyphosate herbicides it inherited from Monsanto.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist