(Reuters) – A U.S. jury on Tuesday discovered Bayer AG’s glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused cancer, a blow to the corporate eight months after one other jury issued a $289 million verdict over comparable claims in a unique case.
FILE PHOTO: Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller atomizers are displayed on the market at a backyard store close to Brussels, Belgium November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo
Tuesday’s unanimous jury determination in San Francisco federal court docket, which got here after 5 days of deliberation, was not a discovering of Bayer’s legal responsibility for the cancer of plaintiff Edwin Hardeman. Liability and damages shall be determined by the identical jury in a second trial part starting on Wednesday.
Bayer, which denies allegations that glyphosate or Roundup trigger cancer, in an announcement on Tuesday mentioned it was disillusioned with the jury’s preliminary determination. Bayer acquired Monsanto, the longtime maker of Roundup, for $63 billion final 12 months.
“We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto’s conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman’s cancer,” the corporate mentioned.
Glyphosate is the world’s most generally used weed killer. Monsanto’s Roundup was the primary glyphosate-based weed killer however is not patent-protected and plenty of different variations are actually out there. Bayer doesn’t present gross sales figures for the product.
The case was solely the second of some 11,200 Roundup lawsuits to go to trial within the United States. Another California man was awarded $289 million in August after a state court docket jury discovered Roundup caused his cancer, sending Bayer shares plunging on the time. That award was later lowered to $78 million and is on attraction.
Bayer had claimed that jury was overly influenced by plaintiffs’ legal professionals allegations of company misconduct and didn’t deal with the science.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria referred to as such proof “a distraction” from the scientific query of whether or not glyphosate causes cancer. He cut up the Hardeman case into two phases: one to resolve causation, the opposite to find out Bayer’s potential legal responsibility and damages.
Under Chhabria’s order, the second part would solely happen if the jury discovered Roundup to be a considerable think about inflicting Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The jury discovered that it was on Tuesday.
NOT AN ABERRATION
Carl Tobias, a regulation professor on the University of Richmond, mentioned Tuesday’s determination confirmed that the August jury verdict was not an aberration and that the Hardeman case could possibly be a sign of what might occur in future comparable instances.
Some authorized specialists had mentioned Chhabria’s determination was helpful to Bayer, which says a long time of research and regulatory evaluations have proven the weed killer to be protected for human use.
“We will only really know whether it works for Bayer to isolate scientific issues once we see more trials,” mentioned Adam Zimmerman, a regulation professor specializing in mass torts at Los Angeles-based Loyola Law School.
Chhabria has scheduled one other bellwether trial for May and a 3rd trial is prone to happen this 12 months. All three bellwether instances shall be cut up into causation and legal responsibility phases.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the European Chemicals Agency and different regulators have discovered that glyphosate shouldn’t be seemingly carcinogenic to people. But the World Health Organization’s cancer arm in 2015 reached a unique conclusion, classifying glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
In the trial’s second part, Hardeman’s legal professionals shall be allowed to current proof allegedly exhibiting the corporate’s efforts to improperly affect scientists, regulators and the general public concerning the security of Roundup.
Hardeman’s legal professionals, Aimee Wagstaff and Jennifer Moore, mentioned they look ahead to presenting that proof to the jury to carry Monsanto accountable.
“Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup,” they mentioned in an announcement.
Chhabria is overseeing greater than 760 Roundup instances for which Hardeman’s was a so-called bellwether trial supposed to assist decide the vary of damages and outline settlement choices for the others.
Another Roundup trial is scheduled to start in California state court docket in Oakland on March 28, involving a pair who declare Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Reporting by Jim Christie in San Francisco; Additional reporting and writing by Tina Bellon in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot
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