A California man was awarded $332million on Tuesday after filing a lawsuit against the giant corporation Monsanto Co., alleging that its Roundup weedkiller was responsible for causing his rare form of cancer.
Mike Dennis, a 57-year-old resident of Carlsbad, California, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2020, which he attributed to his decades-long use of Roundup weedkiller. The lawsuit alleged that his illness was related to glyphosate, an active chemical in the product.
A San Diego Superior Court jury found that Monsanto, now a subsidiary of the pharmaceutical giant Bayer, had failed to provide adequate warnings about the risks associated with Roundup.
The multimillion-dollar verdict includes $7million in compensatory damages and $325million in punitive damages.
More than 4,000 plaintiffs have filed lawsuits alleging that Monsanto’s products made them or their family members ill. Several have been granted damages exceeding $20million in their respective cases.
Mike Dennis, a 57-year-old resident of Carlsbad, California, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2020, which he attributed to his decades-long use of Roundup weedkiller
Mike Dennis, a 57-year-old resident of Carlsbad, California, was awarded $332million on Tuesday in a lawsuit against the giant corporation Monsanto Co., alleging that its Roundup weedkiller was responsible for a rare form of cancer he had developed
A San Diego Superior Court jury found that Monsanto, now a subsidiary of the pharmaceutical giant Bayer, had failed to provide adequate warnings about the risks associated with Roundup
In a partial victory for Bayer, the jury ruled the product’s design was not defective, and the company was not found to be negligent.
Dennis had been using Roundup products for more than three decades, Adam Peavy, one of his attorneys, told NBC7 San Diego.
‘He took care of multiple homes over a 35-year period. He started spraying it with his dad and they mixed the concentrate back in the mid-80s. And then he transitioned into using the ready-mix version that’s already pre-done.’
Dennis spent years dealing with rashes on his hands and feet, before he was diagnosed with a rare form of T-cell lymphoma – a cancer that starts in the white blood cells – in 2020, Peavy said.
Before he was diagnosed with cancer, he did not respond to treatments for psoriasis or eczema, the lawyer added.
‘He asked his doctor, and most doctors don’t know a lot about glyphosate in Roundup, but he…did a little more research then ultimately contacted us,’ Peavy said.
Dennis, a father of two sons, is a longtime Carlsbad resident who loves to surf.
He received treatment and has been in remission for nearly three years, but there is no cure.
‘They got it pretty early. He had significant treatment, it went away and we were lucky for that,’ Peavy said.
‘The unfortunate reality of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is there’s no cure and Mike deals with it on a daily basis wondering when it’s going to come back.’
‘His doctors have told him it’s going to come back and we’re just waiting to see if that happens.’
In a statement to NBC7, Bayer said: ‘We respectfully disagree with the jury’s adverse verdict, though it found in favor of the company on two of the four claims.
The pharmaceutical giant insisted that ‘there were significant and reversible legal and evidentiary errors made during this trial.
‘We have a winning record in the Roundup litigation – having won nine of the last twelve cases at trial – and have resolved the majority of claims filed in this litigation.’
Multiple plaintiffs including Edwin Hardeman (left) and Dwayne Johnson (right) claim a chemical called glyphosate, which is Roundup’s main ingredient, caused their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Johnson (pictured), a terminally ill groundkeeper from California, won $289 million in August 2018 after it was determined the weed killer chemical gave him cancer
A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program last year found glyphosate, the cancer-causing ingredient, in more than 80 percent of urine samples from kids and adults in the U.S.
The survey found glyphosate in 1,885 of 2,310 urine samples from participants that supposedly represented the U.S. population. Participants aged between six to 18 made up a third of the samples.
Bayer was subjected to pay $10.9 billion in 2020 to settle thousands of US lawsuits claiming Roundup causes cancer. The company is not admitting any wrongdoing as part of its settlement package.
However, several plaintiffs have alleged that Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that starts in the white blood cells.
California resident Edwin Hardeman, of Windsor, sued in federal court in February 2016 and was awarded $80 million, later reduced to $25 million.
Dwayne Johnson, a terminally ill groundkeeper from California, won $289 million in August 2018 after it was determined the weed killer chemical gave him cancer.
His awarded damages were later reduced to $21.5million at a California appeals court.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Bayer’s appeal to overturn the thousands of lawsuits in June 2022 alleging Roundup causes cancer, according to CBS News.
To prevent future litigation, Bayers announced in 2021 the company will replace its glyphosate products in the U.S. residential market with a new formula launching in 2023.
The original maker of Roundup, Monsanto, introduced the product in 1974 as a way of killing weeds while ensuring plants and crops flourished.
In March 2015, the World Health Organization found that the herbicide was ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’.
Then, in 2017, California named glyphosate, an ingredient that causes cancer under the state’s Proposition 65, which requires Roundup to carry a warning label if sold in California.
But, in April 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reaffirmed that glyphosate does not cause cancer.
In June 2022, the Ninth Circuit filed a decision, urging the EPA to reconsider its conclusion that Roundup’s glyphosate does not cause cancer nor harm to the environment.
Also in that month, the Supreme Court dismissed Bayer’s appeal in another Roundup case.
THE SAGA SURROUNDING THE SAFETY OF GLYPHOSATE
Glyphosate is an herbicide first registered for use in the US in 1974.
It is marketed either as a salt or an amber-colored liquid with no smell.
Monsanto markets glyphosate as part of the pesticide Roundup.
Several studies found that high doses administered to laboratory animals caused cancer, although the evidence is ‘limited’ when it comes to humans.
In March 2015, the World Health Organization ranked glyphosate a Group 2a carcinogen, a substance that probably causes cancer in people.
In 2017, California added glyphosate to its proposition 65 list, which requires Roundup to carry a warning label if sold in California.
Monsanto has vehemently denied that its product causes cancer and says and more than 800 studies that have established its safety.
Yet more than 4,000 plaintiffs have filed lawsuits – claiming Monsanto made them or members of their family sick.