They Got it Right Again in San Francisco: Jury Finds Roundup was to Blame for Hardeman’s Cancer

Yesterday, we took another incremental step towards justice in the second Roundup case to go to trial against Monsanto.  The jury in Edwin Hardeman's Roundup case against Monsanto determined that Roundup caused him to develop non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.  The case was full of fireworks with Judge Vince Chhabria sanctioning counsel for Mr. Hardeman and threatening to dismiss the case if there was further mention of internal Monsanto documents showing that the company attempted to hide Roundup's cancer risk from the public by altering scientific studies and influencing the EPA.  Nevertheless, Aimee Wagstaff and Jennifer Moore, co-counsel for Mr. Hardeman, did a nice job under challenging circumstances and proved to the jury that Monsanto caused Mr. Hardeman's cancer. By way of background, Mr. Hardeman's case is pending before Judge Chhabria and is the first bellwether case in the federal consolidated multi-district litigation (MDL) to go before a jury.  My client, Dewayne "Lee" Johnson's case was the first Roundup trial overall in the national...
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France bans Roundup Sales

European regulators have historically been more progressive in regulation of dangerous drugs and products, and last week France made another move in the right direction.  In 2017 President Emmanuel Macron pledged to phase out glyphosate in three years.  And, indeed, recent estimates from the French government state that 80% of Roundup use will be cut by 2021. On January 11, the country banned sales of glyphosate-containing products to home or amateur gardeners.  And, last week, a French Court revoked the sales license for Roundup Pro 360, citing IARC's classification of the product as a probably human carcinogen. Here in America, of course, the product not only remains on the market, in colorful aisle displays at the Home Depot, Lowes, and other stores, but the products' packaging and labelling still contains no mention of the cancer risk whatsoever.  America has some catching up to do.   Full story here:   https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00259-x  ...
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Cheers to Costco for stopping Sales of Roundup

Costco recently announced that it will halt all sales of Roundup and other glyphosate-containing herbicides.  This comes after a campaign by Moms Across America asking the store, as well as Home Depot and Lowes, to stop carrying these product due to the carcinogenicity.   We are delighted to see a big company doing the right thing; as mass tort lawyers our primary focus is on winning compensation for the ill or injured, or the families they leave behind.  However, a very important secondary benefit of our work is to bring light to the dangerous properties of products and help to bring about real change.  Lee Johnson's verdict this summer continues to make ripples, and this Costco ban is no doubt part of the snowball effect.  We hope other stores will follow suit.  See story at: https://www.momsacrossamerica.com/costco_stops_selling_roundup2019     ...
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Bayer CEO raises settlement possibility

In a  rather condescending way to those who suffer from or have died from a terrible disease such as lymphoma, Bayer CEO Werner Baumann made remarks this week indicating the company would consider settling the claims against it if the costs were low.  Specifically, he referred to my clients and these very serious lawsuits as "nuisances" and said if the cost of preparing to defend a case were higher than what he deemed the low "nuisance" value of these cases, the company would consider settlement. Monsanto's merger with Bayer was finalized during our trial this summer, and Monsanto's incredibly arrogant statements have given way to more pragmatic statements such as this.  While I do not expect to secure a $289 million verdict for each of our clients, these cases are serious and clearly have more than "nuisance value."  We will fight on until any settlement offers are such that there is real justice being done.   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bayer-glyphosate-lawsuit/bayer-ceo-says-would-consider-glyphosate-settlement-depending-on-costs-idUSKCN1N70UM...
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Ghostwriting / pseudoscience

This first word is not mine; it is used internally at Monsanto to describe paying scientists to put their names on work written by the company.  It was revealed at trial that numerous publications were created this way. So, too, should you be aware of the pseudoscience blogs out there that claim to be unaffiliated with  Monsanto.  Off the top of my head, they include: Genetic Literacy Project Science 2.0 American Council on Science and Health   All are backed by industry; notice all their posts seem to conclude that every chemical is safe.  They are 501c3 organizations so they don't have to disclose their funding, but the editor of at least one of them has made a false statement when he said none of its funding came from Monsanto.  The trick is to move the money through several organizations.  Be wary of these websites that seem to always side with industry; follow the money....
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Jurors plead with judge not to alter their verdict

In an unusual but heart warming twist, jurors have send the trial judge letters pleading with her to not disturb their verdict. Earlier this week the trial judge struck the punitive damage award and is considering reducing it further. "You may not have been convinced by the evidence but we were,” juror Gary Kitahata said in a letter to Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos, “I urge you to respect and honor our verdict and the six weeks of our lives that we dedicated to thistrial.” Another juror, Robert Howard,wrote that he paid “studious attention” to the evidence, closely followed Bolanos’ instruction and deliberated for several days. The possibility that “our unanimous verdict could be summarily overturned demeans our system of justice and shakes my confidence in that system,” Howard wrote. The civil jury, as recognized by the US Supreme Court in Wyeth v. Levine, is one of the most important ways of regulating products. It is terribly frightening for all of us and...
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Roundup in your food

News agencies are beginning to spreas awareness that is vital to human health globally; most of us are eating Roundup every day. I have a;ways felt even the strongest studies showing that it causes cancer are undercalculating the risk; they are comparing applicators to groups of people that eat a steady diet of Roundup.   Here is something even I did not realize until late in trial; I knew Roundup was a crop desiccant or finisher, used to ready crops for harvest, but I did not understand how because it is sprayed on Roundup-ready (resistant} crops. In fact, it is used to kill non Roundup-ready crops just like it kills weeds; it is very effective at killing things not genetically modified for immunity.  So, most of our oats and wheat arrive at the table with a fresh coating of Roundup. Most cereals tested contained the poison; that means that especially children (and this author) are affected. Read more here:  https://www.ewg.org/childrenshealth/glyphosateincereal/...
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Court grants new trial on punitive damages

Court grants new trial on punitive damages

The US constitution affords every citizen a right to have their disputes heard by a jury of their peers. When taking on a monster like Monsanto this is fantastic for someone like Lee Johnson.   Some states have caps on damages or other so called "tort reforms" built on the campaign contributions of large corporations.  California remains a pretty fair place to have a trial.   Unfortunately, today the trial court tentatively ruled in favor of Monsanto taking away the punitive damage award totaling 250$ million. The decision is puzzling because she was asked the same relief many times including at the close of evidence and had held that there was  sufficient evidence for a punitive damage award. The ruling is simply tentative and the Court may change its mind. Lee was also awarded a 39$illiom compensatory award by the jury. Both sides will battle on in appellate courts for years unfortunately, but this bell cannot be unrung. The average American has spoken and said it...
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Taking Monsanto to trial

Many firms claim to specialize in mass torts.  But only a handful of them are truly willing and able to take them to trial.  Timothy Litzenburg worked for seven years at a firm known for its aggressive strategies of taking as many cases to trial as possible.  In a prior litigation involving a diabetes drug that causes bladder cancer, Mr. Litzenburg and the managing partner at his prior firm went to trial six times in five states in two years, winning five of the six juries.  Other firms in the country, collectively, had three trials, only one of which was successful.   Following that intensive learning on the job, Timothy went to trial this summer with two other friends and colleagues also in their thirties; the new generation of true mass tort trial attorneys.  You may speak with a number of firms that claim to handle these cases, but Timothy and perhaps four other law firms are the only ones that are...
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Cancer Council Australia calls for fresh review of carcinogenicity of Roundup

Australia's top cancer watchdog has demanded a fresh look at Roundup, the herbicide that is now known to cause non Hodgkin lymphoma. After our trial and historic verdict this summer, agencies around the world are under pressure to look at the real science and make an independent assessment.  Australia's official regulatory agency, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), has not formally reviewed glyphosate since 1995. Monsanto often touts that the EPA considers Roundup non-carcinogenic.  This, too, is based on old information and undue influence.  Monsanto generally refers to a 1986 decision by EPA. This is not how we perform science of protect lives; by referring to ancient decisions by regulators.  The science has now proven that this product can kill, and it is time for Monsanto to take responsibility.  Contact me for a free consultation....
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