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Couple Awarded Billions In Verdict Against Monsanto

Couple Awarded Billions In Verdict Against Monsanto

A California couple was awarded $2.055 billion after a California jury determined their two cancer diagnoses were the result of a chemical found in a popular weed killer produced by Monsanto.

Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images

The company’s product, Roundup, contains glyphosate, a chemical the company’s parent organization Bayer alleges is not harmful to humans. They base that presumption on research conducted in the past, including findings provided by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Bayer is disappointed with the jury’s decision and will appeal the verdict in this case,” the company wrote in a statement following the decision.

However, there are contentions that the chemical does cause cancer, according to reporting from CNN. The World Health Organization wrote in a report from 2015 that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans,” and the website FactCheck.org wrote that in high doses the chemical has been linked in studies to cancer.

Alva and Alberta Pilliod were both diagnosed with the same type of cancer — non-Hodgkins lymphoma — within four years of one another. The couple regularly used Roundup for four decades, their complaint stated.

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Their verdict “is as clear of a statement as you can get that [Bayer and Monsanto] need to change what they’re doing,” Brent Wisner, one of their lawyers, said.

The couple was rewarded with $55 million in compensatory damages from the jury, which also awarded them $2 billion in punitive damages as a result of their diagnosis.

This is the third case out of California within the past year that a jury has found Roundup to have caused cancer, the New York Times reported.

Earlier this year, a man was awarded $80 million after a jury in San Francisco ruled in his favor after he too had developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma. In August 2018, another man who had worked as a school groundskeeper for decades was awarded $289 million after he sued Monsanto, though his judgment was later reduced to $78 million.

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