Eight months after Bayer was ordered to pay over a US$289-million claim, the company suffered another major blow, Tuesday, in a San Francisco federal court. A jury unanimously ruled that Bayer AG’s glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused cancer, after five days of deliberation.
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The company, which continues to deny the allegations leveled against the glyphosate chemical in its Roundup product, also faces other pending rulings, in both this case and others.
“We will only really know whether it works for Bayer to isolate scientific issues once we see more trials,” Adam Zimmerman, a law professor at Los Angeles-based Loyola Law School, explained.
Another second trial, involving the case, will determine Bayer’s liability and damages relating to the cancer of plaintiff Edwin Hardeman, who has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Hardeman’s lawyers, Aimee Wagstaff and Jennifer Moore, said: “Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup.”
Meanwhile, Bayer responded, in a statement, that “we are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto’s conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman’s cancer.”
Previously, the European Union health authorities seemingly sided with the chemical company, declaring that "experts, with only one exception, concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans and the evidence does not support classification with regard to its carcinogenic potential."
But, global health authority, the United Nation World Health Organization, countered the EU’s remark, stating that Roundup is "probably carcinogenic to humans."
United States District Judge Vince Chhabria was responsible for splitting the Hardeman case into two phases: one to decide causation and the other to determine Bayer’s potential liability and damages.
Last year, the German chemical giant bought out Monsanto, the original maker of Roundup, for US$63 billion.
Roundup is recorded as the first glyphosate-based weed killer.
Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used weed killer.
In August, a Californian man was awarded US$289 million in a cancer case against Roundup. The award was subsequently reduced to US$78 million, which is currently pending an appeal decision.
Tuesday’s case is the second of about 11,200 Roundup accepted lawsuits, which are scheduled to go to trial, in the United States.