A California jury has awarded $332 million to a man who claimed that Monsanto’s weedkiller Roundup was responsible for his cancer.
In 2020, Mike Dennis, a resident of Carlsbad, California, was diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He filed a lawsuit alleging that his decades-long use of Roundup, produced by Bayer-owned Monsanto, had caused his illness.
Dennis attributed his cancer to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. His attorney, Adam Peavy, argued that glyphosate is genotoxic, causing DNA damage when absorbed through the skin, which ultimately leads to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Despite being in remission for nearly three years, there is no known cure for the disease.
A San Diego Superior Court jury found that Monsanto had failed to adequately warn consumers about the risks associated with Roundup. The verdict awarded Dennis $7 million in compensatory damages and $325 million in punitive damages. However, the jury ruled in favor of Bayer, stating that the product design of Roundup was not defective, and the company was not negligent.
Bayer, headquartered in Germany, plans to appeal the verdict. The company expressed its disagreement with the jury’s decision, emphasizing that they had prevailed on two out of the four claims and believed that there were strong grounds for appeal. Bayer also highlighted their successful track record in previous Roundup litigation cases.
Bayer acquired Monsanto in 2018 for $63 billion, becoming the world’s largest seed and agrochemical company. The acquisition left Bayer grappling with numerous lawsuits related to Roundup. In 2020, Bayer announced a settlement of up to $10.9 billion to resolve a substantial portion of the claims filed against them.
The Supreme Court rejected Bayer’s attempt to dismiss thousands of lawsuits alleging a link between the weedkiller and cancer.
In 2022, a government study revealed that glyphosate was present in over 80% of urine samples from both children and adults in the United States. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reported the presence of glyphosate in 1,885 out of 2,310 urine samples, representing the general population.