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RoundupĀ® Verdict Reversed

10/25/2018

In September, a plaintiff alleged that exposure to Roundup® (glyphosate) manufactured by Monsanto, now owned by Bayer AG was responsible for his diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The judgement of $289 million later reduced to $39 million, was the first in the series of shakedown lawsuits which lowered Bayer stock price by 20 percent.

 

Subsequently Judge Suzanne Bolanos granted a motion by Bayer which claimed that there was insufficient evidence to prove the company intended to harm the plaintiff and that the sum awarded was not justified.

 

Glyphosate has entered the cross-hairs of both the tort bar and environmentalists opposed in principle to GMO technology.  It is clear that if glyphosate were to be banned, the advantages associated with Roundup®-resistant corn and soybeans would be invalidated, representing a major restraint to planting GM cultivars.

 

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a subsidiary of the World Health Organization classified glyphosate as a “potential carcinogenic”.  Subsequent protests by responsible environmental toxicologists affiliated to regulatory agencies, chemical companies and universities resulted in a retraction of the adverse classification.  It was disclosed that a contributor to the IARC review on which the “potential carcinogen” categorization was made had a conflict of interest in that he was concurrently serving as an expert for plaintiffs’ attorneys in litigation against Monsanto over glyphosate.

 

Monsanto markets approximately $11 billion in Roundup®- ready seed used extensively in North America and other nations with financial benefits to farmers and the product represents environmental advantages.

 

The ruling in California setting aside the jury verdict is the first step in reasserting scientific certainty in the face of avaricious lawyers and anti-GMO activists. Monsanto faces probably as many as 8,000 cases worldwide claiming an adverse effect from exposure. On February 25th 2019 a case (3:16-md-02741-vc) involving a class of 580 plaintiffs will be tried in San Francisco with others in Montana and Missouri.