The Legal Examiner Affiliate Network The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner search instagram avvo phone envelope checkmark mail-reply spinner error close The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner The Legal Examiner

Roundup Update: Bayer Ordered to Pay Billions in Roundup Weed Killer Cancer Lawsuit

In January, the manufacturer of Roundup, the most popular weed killer in the world, received a tough verdict from a Pennsylvania jury. 

Monsanto and its parent company Bayer were ordered to pay $2.25 billion to a 47-year-old plaintiff, who had developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma while using Roundup at both his work and in his yard regularly for more than 20 years. The jury reached its verdict on January 27.

Bayer logo sign in frankfurt international airport

The Roundup lawsuit alleged the manufacturer caused the plaintiff’s illness by not warning him of the cancer risk associated with Roundup use, specifically how its key ingredient, glyphosate, is recognized as a potential human carcinogen. 

Over the years, Roundup has been the subject of hundreds or thousands of Roundup lawsuits. The January decision is considered the largest penalty yet in a Roundup trial.

After the jury’s decision, officials at Bayer issued a statement describing the verdict, which includes $2 billion in punitive damages, as “adverse.” 

“We disagree with the jury’s adverse verdict that conflicts with the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence and worldwide regulatory and scientific assessments, and believe that we have strong arguments on appeal to get this verdict overturned and the unconstitutionally excessive damage award eliminated or reduced,” the statement said.

Monsanto began selling Roundup in 1974, and for decades farmers, gardeners, and landscapers used the product. Over time, public health organizations, consumer activists, and environmental groups began voicing health and environmental concerns about glyphosate.

Things changed in 2015 when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an agency within the World Health Organization (WHO), confirmed that glyphosate has links to causing cancer. With the IARC declaration, people who used Roundup and were diagnosed with cancer, particularly those with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, took notice, and they began filing Roundup lawsuits against Bayer and Monsanto.

It would not be until January 2023 that Bayer officially announced that all Roundup products containing glyphosate would be removed from retail stores.

While the WHO’s stance and the removal of the herbicide from the general public is a step in the right direction, Roundup products are still available for commercial and agricultural use, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially maintains a different stance from the WHO. Its position is that the pesticide is “unlikely to be a human carcinogen.” According to the agency it has found “no risks of concern to human health when glyphosate is used by its current label.”

The differing opinions have made protecting consumers from dangerous, toxic products all the more difficult and litigation against Bayer more challenging.

Other Recent Roundup Trials

Although the decision in the Philadelphia case was a major success for the plaintiff (and a blow to Bayer), other decisions have been made within the last month that have brought different results, with most showing more support for Bayer and less for the plaintiffs.

Here’s a snapshot of other Roundup decisions:

  • On March 1, a jury ruled in favor of Bayer in a case involving a woman who died after receiving a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis. Her family, who filed the lawsuit, alleged the manufacturer was responsible for the death since the woman was exposed to Roundup in her workplace. The trial was held in the Circuit Court of Conway County in Arkansas. In response to the decision, officials at Bayer said in a statement that the win, “validates the Company’s strategy of taking cases to trial based on strong scientific and regulatory evidence.” This decision was the 11th victory out of the last 17 cases for Bayer.
  • In Wilmington, Delaware, the family of a South Carolina landscaper who received his cancer diagnosis in 2018 was seeking $142 million in punitive damages. The man died in October of 2021, about six weeks after his lawsuit was filed. After three days of deliberation, Superior Court Judge Vivian Medinilla urged the jury to come to a decision. They let her know they could not agree on whether the man’s death was caused by the manufacturer’s negligence or not. This led to Judge Medinilla declaring a mistrial.
  • Another trial, with Judge Ann Butchart of the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas presiding, came to an end on March 6 with the jury reaching a unanimous verdict, siding with the manufacturer. The Roundup lawsuit, originally filed in February 2022, centered on a male retiree from the United States Post Office who also developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup regularly. The plaintiff’s lawyer expressed frustration with the decision and said she believed the verdict “was inconsistent with the rulings in previous Roundup trials.”

“We’re very disappointed in the jury verdict, which we plan to appeal, based upon adverse rulings in advance of the trial that kept core components of the evidence out of the case. These included the fact that the EPA safety evaluation of Roundup has been vacated, who IARC (the International Agency for Research on Cancer) is and the relevance of their finding that Roundup is a probable human carcinogen, and also the allowance into evidence of findings by foreign regulatory agencies disguised as foreign scientists,” the statement said.

Benefits of Hiring a Roundup Lawyer 

While Bayer has agreed to pay more than $10 billion in settlements to cancer patients who used Roundup, thousands of decisions in other Roundup cases across the country are still pending. Along with that, there are still victims who have yet to take action against the makers of the herbicide. If an individual used Roundup either at home or through work and has been given a cancer diagnosis, particularly a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis, they should contact a lawyer to find out if they qualify for a Roundup lawsuit. As the differing results of recent trials show, receiving fair compensation may not be simple and an experienced Roundup attorney can help.

While it is never easy to take legal action against a person or an organization, if a product has caused a person to become sick, and in many cases die, those who are responsible for the harm must be held responsible, and the product in question be removed from the market once and for all. 

Roundup users who have developed cancer and believe it may be due to glyphosate exposure should contact a Roundup lawyer to assess their eligibility for a claim.