On March 19, a San Francisco federal court jury found Monsanto’s Roundup (glyphosate), the world’s most widely-used herbicide, was a “substantial factor” in the genesis of 70-year-old Edwin Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The world’s largest producer of genetically modified seeds (GMOs), St. Louis-based Monsanto was acquired in June for $66 billion by German agricultural and pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG. The mega-corporation controls one quarter of the global seed and pesticide market.

Today the jury ordered Monsanto to pay $80 million in damages to Hardeman, who said he sprayed his 56-acre property with Roundup for 26 years.

“We are disappointed with the jury’s decision, but this verdict does not change the weight of over four decades of extensive science and the conclusions of regulators worldwide that support the safety of our glyphosate-based herbicides and that they are not carcinogenic. … Bayer will appeal this verdict,” the company stated on March 27.

In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency on Cancer Research classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

As one of three bellwether “test” trials for a group of 760 similar cases consolidated from around the nation, the Hardeman case will help shape the forthcoming judicial process.

In August 2018 the first American jury, in a San Francisco state court, found that Roundup likely caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in another Bay Area man, 46-year-old former school groundskeeper Dewayne “Lee” Johnson.  A judge reduced the jury’s $289 million award to $78 million, which Johnson accepted. The case is currently on appeal.

“Some analysts have put the price of settling lawsuits over Roundup filed by more than 11,200 people in the U.S. at more than $5 billion,” Bloomberg reported.