A California jury ordered agrochemical and agricultural biotech giant Monsanto Co. to pay a combined $2.055 billion to a couple who claimed the widely-used weed killer, Roundup Ready, caused their cancers. The couple, Alva and Alberta Pilliod have both been battling the cancerous non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for nine years, and this suffering has had a significant impact on their quality of life.
In the verdict, the jury found Monsanto Co. to be guilty of negligence, of failing to warn consumers of the herbicide’s cancer risk, and that the Roundup herbicide was defectively designed. The Pilliods stated they routinely used Roundup on their property between 1975 and 2011.
Our hearts and deepest sympathies go out to the Pilliods, their family and friends, and all other victims of toxic exposure.
What Consumers Should Know About Roundup Weed Killer
Roundup is a glyphosate-based herbicide frequently used in both public and private spaces. Roundup products are marketed as a chemical to kill unwanted weeds and grasses. It was developed in the 1970s and has grown in use, especially once the company began manufacturing and selling GMO seeds in the 1990s.
Monsanto, acquired by Bayer AG last year, has also been the center of much controversy over the past several years due to the connection between their Roundup products and their GMO seed products. The agri-giant has developed its genetically modified seeds to be resistant to herbicides, such as Roundup. Essentially, the agri-giant is selling the seeds to work in conjunction with their herbicide products.
In 2015, it was reported Monsanto made close to $4.76 billion in sales and $1.9 billion in gross profits from herbicides, primarily its Roundup product.
Complaints About Roundup
This is the third consecutive jury verdict in less than a year ruling in favor of the plaintiff against Monsanto Co. for its toxic chemical products. To date, all victims turning to the law to seek justice are suffering from cancer. The Pilliods' award this week is the largest award to date given by a jury. Earlier cases ruling in favor of the plaintiff include:
- A San Francisco state court awarding $289 million in August 2018 to a California man.
- In March 2019, a federal jury in San Francisco awarded $80 million to another victim. They found Roundup to be a “substantial factor” in causing the victim's cancer.
Bayer and Monsanto currently face more than 13,000 plaintiffs with pending lawsuits across the U.S. The next significant lawsuit will take place in a Missouri state court this summer and will be the first of many lawsuits to take place outside of California. Several other cases are pending in Missouri, currently scheduled for September and October 2019.
Who is at Risk and What Are the Signs?
People who are consistently exposed to the harmful chemicals contained in Roundup and like herbicides are at a higher risk than those who aren’t. Unfortunately, it’s hard to say where and when people might be continuously exposed because the herbicide is so widely used. You’ll find it at schools, parks, shared spaces in HOA communities, or even your neighbor’s yard. People most exposed to glyphosate include farm workers, nursery employees, landscapers, and others who work in areas where frequent applications of Roundup (and like products) are done. Homeowners or landlords who routinely apply these herbicides also can be at risk.
Since companies producing glyphosate-based products don’t label their products as potentially hazardous, people are prevented from making informed decisions about using it. They are using these products under the belief they are safe, but in reality could be exposing themselves and others to serious cancers, such as non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma include:
- Swollen stomach or pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Chest pains or pressure
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent coughing
- Persistent fatigue
- Unexplained weight loss
If you or someone you know is experiencing a combination of these symptoms, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider right away.
Chances are more victims will continue to come forward in the future. While currently there is a lot of debate in the scientific community about Roundup, research organizations are finding links to illness. One study suggests sick people have higher levels of glyphosate in their systems than well people do. Additionally, NPR recently reported on the UN-sponsored International Agency for Research on Cancer that declared the popular herbicide causes cancer, also alleging Monsanto has recruited outside scientists to defend the safety of glyphosate.
New York City Toxic Exposure Lawyers
If you, or a loved one, have suffered because of toxic exposure, you deserve justice for the physical damages and emotional trauma you’ve suffered. The compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys at Raphaelson & Levine are dedicated to helping people receive justice for the suffering caused by toxic exposure. To learn more about the effects of toxic exposure, your legal rights, or to receive a free consultation, contact us at 212-268-3222.