A jury in California returned a plaintiff verdict for a man who claimed he developed cancer because of exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller. The Oct. 31 verdict ordered Monsanto’s owner, Bayer AG, to pay Mike Dennis $332 million, NBC San Diego reported.
After winning at trial in nine consecutive Roundup cases in 2022 and 2023, Bayer has now lost three straight cases, with each recent plaintiff verdict returned in October. Dennis, like tens of thousands of other Roundup claimants, developed a form of cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or NHL, which first affects the white blood cells. Dennis was 51 when he was diagnosed with NHL. The jury awarded him $7 million in compensatory damages. The $325 million in punitive damages will likely be reduced, as the U.S. Supreme Court has previously ruled that with rare exception, punitive damages should be capped at less than 10 times the compensatory damages, Reuters reported.
The jury found that Bayer failed to warn of Roundup’s risks but sided with the company on negligence and product defect claims.
Dennis, 57, a resident of Carlsbad, CA, filed his lawsuit against Bayer in 2021. The year prior to his lawsuit being filed, he was diagnosed with a rare form of NHL, T-cell lymphoma, known as mycosis fungoides. Dennis’ attorney told San Diego’s NBC 7 that Dennis, before his diagnosis, suffered from frequent rashes on his hands and feet but that doctors were unable to properly diagnose him.
Claiming to have used Roundup for over three decades, Dennis applied the controversial weedkiller to multiple homes. He has been in remission for nearly three years.
“Glyphosate, the active ingredient for Roundup, is genotoxic," one of the attorneys who represented Dennis at trial told NBC 7. “It causes DNA damage once it’s absorbed through the skin, and that’s what ultimately causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”
Before Monsanto’s winning streak of nine defense verdicts ended in October, the company had lost the first three Roundup trials, which were held in 2018 and 2019. Those three cases, all of which were tried in California, returned damage awards in the tens of millions of dollars for plaintiffs Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, Edwin Hardeman, and Alva and Alberta Pilliod. Last month, Bayer lost a Roundup trial held in Philadelphia, where a jury ordered it to pay $175 million in damages, and in St. Louis, former Monsanto headquarters and where a jury returned a $1.25 million verdict, the first time Monsanto was found liable in a Roundup case outside of California.
Bayer settled the bulk of 125,000 Roundup cancer claims in 2020 with a $10.9 billion settlement but still faces 40,000 lawsuits related to Roundup.
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