Weedkiller glyphosate a 'substantial' cancer factor

The unanimous decision was the second jury verdict finding Roundup caused non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Only two cases out of more than 11,000 Roundup suits have gone to trial in the United States, and as of Tuesday, they both had the same result: A jury found that the glyphosate-filled weed killer causes cancer.

The Hardeman's case is considered a landmark trial for hundreds of other plaintiffs in the USA with similar claims, which means the verdict could affect future litigation and other cancer patients and families.

Bayer in a statement on Tuesday said it was disappointed with the jury's initial decision.

The plaintiff's attorneys said he developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after 26 years of regularly using Roundup to tackle weeds and poison oak, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Evidence is nearly certain to resurface that Monsanto ghostwrote scientific literature and influenced regulators to claim that Roundup is safe.

In that case, jurors awarded the plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson $289 million.

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Roundup became the company's leading headache after the June 7 completion of the Monsanto deal that Baumann entered to remain a global competitor in seeds and agricultural products.

Bayer AG shares dropped 13 per cent to 60.66 euros ($68.84) in Frankfurt Wednesday. "And for Mr. Hardeman to have his day in court and to show that Roundup does cause cancer". Together with its existing holding in Bayer, Temasek would then own about 4 percent in Bayer after the transaction.

The latest case has so far brought no damages award against Bayer, as jurors now have to decide whether Monsanto is liable for the harm suffered by Hardeman.

Since Bayer's subsidiary, Monsanto, lost in last Aug's trial, investors have been viewing Bayer shares as high-risk stocks which they don't want to include in their portfolios. It's set to appear in six more trials in federal and state courts this year.

The verdict will "likely result in a flood of cases filed quickly" against Bayer, and "may expedite the ultimate settlement" of the Roundup claims, Anna Pavlik, senior counsel for special situations at United First Partners LLC in NY, said in an email. "Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup", Aimee Wagstaff and Jennifer Moore, Hardeman's attorneys, said in a joint statement. It has appealed a separate US court decision previous year in favour of a man who used Roundup. The New York Times reported that they show how Monsanto systematically attempted to discredit scientists and independent scientific research, swayed scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency over its review of glyphosate, and even ghostwrote stories that appeared to be authored by scientists not affiliated with Monsanto.

"We will only really know whether it works for Bayer to isolate scientific issues once we see more trials", said Adam Zimmerman, a law professor focusing on mass torts at Los Angeles-based Loyola Law School.

  • Darren Santiago