Monsanto Asks Court to Overturn $80 Million Verdict
Monsanto has lost the first three Roundup injury lawsuits to go to trial. Each case was resolved with a multi-million dollar verdict for the plaintiffs. Monsanto has vowed to appeal each of these losses. The company has formally asked a federal judge to either overturn one of the $80 million verdicts or grant them a new trial. Attorneys for the pesticide manufacturer believe that the judge overseeing Edwin Hardeman’s trial made several evidence-related mistakes.
Specifically, Monsanto is upset that the attorneys for Edwin Hardeman were allowed to introduce evidence suggesting that glyphosate causes cancer. They argue that they were not permitted to introduce evidence of their own contradicting this claim.
IARC Classifies Glyphosate as a Possible Carcinogen
Hardeman was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after working with Roundup weed killer for more than 26 years. His attorneys relied heavily on information published by the World Health Organization in 2015. The entity’s cancer research division, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic” to humans.
Monsanto’s attorneys wanted to introduce evidence which directly contradicted this assertion. The company claimed to have data from other regulatory bodies that determined Roundup posed no threat to health as long as it was used as directed. The judge presiding over Hardeman’s case declined to allow Monsanto to introduce this evidence.
Monsanto Argues Evidence Rulings Led to Loss in Court
The company believes that this refusal directly resulted in their loss in court. The trial had been bifurcated, meaning that the jury would hear the case in two parts. They’d have to decide whether or not glyphosate was carcinogenic before they could consider Monsanto’s role in the plaintiff’s cancer diagnosis. Monsanto argues that these other studies would have persuaded the jury to believe that glyphosate wasn’t a cancer-causing agent. If they found that glyphosate didn’t cause cancer, the trial would have concluded. They couldn’t have gone on to consider whether or not Monsanto fabricated those studies or intentionally misled the public about the dangers of Roundup.
Given previous rulings, the judge may decline to overturn the verdict or order a new trial. Why? Even though the proceedings have been bifurcated, judges have acknowledged that it’s difficult to separate scientific evidence from evidence of Monsanto’s misconduct. As a result, the jury in the third Monsanto trial was allowed to hear evidence of both during the first phase. That trial ended with a $2 billion verdict for the plaintiffs.