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Roundup: Monsanto Ordered To Pay 2 Billion Dollars In Latest Blow

Over 13 000 lawsuits related to the weedkiller have been launched in the US.

This is the third courtroom defeat for Bayer in cases accusing the chemicals in Roundup of causing cancer. A jury in California on Monday ordered Bayer-owned Monsanto to pay more than $2 billion damages to a couple in their seventies that sued on grounds the weed killer Roundup caused their cancer, lawyers said.

The couple's legal team described the damages award as "historic", saying it totaled 2 055 billion dollars after adding in slightly more than 55 million dollars in compensatory damages.

In a statement, Bayer said it was "disappointed" with the jury's decision and would appeal the verdict, which it argues was at odds with a recent US Environmental Protection Agency review of glyphosate-based weed killers. The company insists the glyphosate-based product is not linked to cancer. Very lucrative, the herbicide has been sold everywhere in the world for over forty years.

"The mountain of evidence showing Monsanto’s manipulation of the media"

In a press conference after the verdict, Mrs. Pilliod thanked the jury: "We wish that Monsanto had warned us ahead of time about the dangers of using Monsanto [weedkiller] And that there was something on the front of their label that said 'danger may cause cancer'", she said. The couple started using Roundup in 1982. Mr. Pilliod was diagnosed in 2011 and Mrs. Pilliod in 2015.

"Unlike the first two Monsanto trials, where the judges severely limited the amount of plaintiffs’ evidence, we were finally allowed to show a jury the mountain of evidence showing Monsanto’s manipulation of science, the media, and regulatory agencies to forward their own agenda despite Roundup’s severe harm to the animal kingdom and humankind," said attorney Michael Miller, who was co-lead trial counsel along with Brent Wisner.

Bayer argued on Monday that the jury's decision was at odds with a recent US Environmental Protection Agency review of glyphosate-based weedkillers."The consensus among leading health regulators worldwide is that glyphosate-based products can be used safely and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic", Bayer said.

"For 45 years the EPA has been saying it doesn't cause cancer", said Brent Wisner, one of the attorneys who represented the Pilliods. "They'd have to come to grips that they have blood in their hands."

"The jury found that exposure to Roundup caused the Pilliods to develop NHL and that Monsanto failed to warn of this severe health hazard. Importantly, the jury also found that Monsanto acted with malice, oppression or fraud and should be punished for its conduct", highlighted the firm Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman in a press release.

Over 13 000 Procedures

The award was the latest in a series of court defeats for Monsanto over Roundup. In March, the company lost another case to an American retiree who blames his cancer on the weedkiller, and was ordered by a court to pay $80 million to the plaintiff.
Bayer announced last month that over 13 000 lawsuits related to the weedkiller had been launched in the US.

The German company has been insisting for almost a year that no regulator worldwide concluded that glyphosate is dangerous since it was marketed in the middle of the seventies and put forward "800 rigorous studies" to hold its claim.

Konbini with AFP

By Astrid Van Laer, published on 14/05/2019

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