Some of my colleagues who practice on the “dark side” (defense lawyers) continue to wonder why juries award massive punitive damage awards against Monsanto, the makers of Roundup. They simply don’t understand how jurors think and perceive the actions of big corporations. In this post we will look at one of the most egregious examples of corporate bad behavior. And the bad actor? Monsanto, of course.
There have been 18,400 cases filed against Monsanto. Most of those cases claim that the weedkiller Roundup has caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for the users of the product. The active ingredient in Roundup linked to cancer is glyphosate.
So far, just three cases have gone to trial. Jurors in those cases awarded, $278 million, $80 million and $2 BILLION to the plaintiffs. Most of those verdicts represented punitive damages. Juries are allowed to issue punitive damages if the plaintiff (victim) can demonstrate the defendant’s misconduct was so egregious that it should be punished.
Hopefully by awarding punitive damages the wrongdoer will have the financial incentive to clean up its bad behavior.
So what did Monsanto do that is so bad?
The science on the safety of glyphosate is mixed. Our experts and many governments say it causes cancer. Monsanto says it is safe and the EPA apparently agrees.
If the science is muddled, why are juries punishing Monsanto?
First, we don’t think the science is muddled. And apparently the jurors don’t either. Our experts tell us there is a clear link between glyphosate and cancer. Studies back them up.
There is more, however.
Monsanto Attacks Victims and Mothers
Recently we obtained emails from Monsanto. That is the beauty of litigation, defendants have to disgorge internal documents (not that getting those documents is an easy process).
In one email, Dr. Daniel Goldstein, a Monsanto executive, was reacting to a letter sent by a group of concerned mothers. The moms wanted Monsanto to stop marketing glyphosate based products until definitive safety tests were performed. [The letter wasn’t the least bit confrontational or nasty… you can read the entire letter here.]
The mothers were concerned that glyphosate may cause autism, infertility and other health problems. We think the mothers are right. Thus far the only clear links are with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and a few related cancers. (See our list of the case we consider below.) That doesn’t mean that glyphosate doesn’t cause a whole range of other health problems. More studies are needed.
How did Monsanto react? To say poorly is an understatement.
Monsanto hired outside consultants to deal with their PR nightmare. That has been their reaction all along. Recently we found they used third parties to attack scientists who were critical of the company.
In a letter to the consultants, Goldstein said, “I have been arguing for a week to beat the shit out of them…we don’t want to be seen as beating up on mothers…it has to be done by third parties.”
The president of the Environmental Working Group has this to say about the email,
“These ugly emails reveal the utter contempt that Monsanto has for public health and for consumers, including mothers who only want to protect their kids’ health.” He added, “Bayer is reeling from its monumental blunder of buying Monsanto, and these emails should remind them that they acquired the company that gave us DDT, Agent Orange and PCBs.”
He is right of course and we have often reminded readers of the link between Monsanto and Agent Orange, PCB’s and other toxic disasters. The company has no credibility. Layer on utter contempt and it’s no wonder the jury awards massive punitive damages.
Let’s also not forget that two of the labs doing work for Monsanto were caught falsifying test results. The owner of one of the labs even went to jail for that.
We see many cases where a company develops a drug or product that later proves to be unsafe. It happens and responsible companies recall those products, fix the problem and take responsibility for their actions. They don’t threaten to beat the s**t out of mothers who raise concerns.
Are You Suffering from Non Hodgkins Lymphoma?
As noted above, over 18,000 lawsuits have been filed against Bayer Monsanto. We believe there is a link between glyphosate and certain types of cancer. If you have been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, give us a call. We may also be able to help family members who recently lost a loved one.
Our criteria is simple:
First, you or the loved one must have used Roundup or a similar glyphosate product for at least 8 hours. That is probably easy if you work as a landscaper or gardener. Home gardeners also qualify if they used Roundup consistently and for several years.
Second we look at age, general health and environment factors. No one is perfectly healthy but if you are in a hospice and already dying of some other ailment we probably can’t connect the dots and make a case.
Third, we consider cases with the following cancers:
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma,
- Angioimmunoblastic Lymphoma,
- Blastic NK-Cell Lymphoma,
- Burkitt’s Lymphoma, Burkitt-like Lymphoma (Small Non-Cleaved Cell Lymphoma),
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia/Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma,
- Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma,
- Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma,
- Enteropathy-Type T-Cell Lymphoma,
- Follicular Lymphoma, Hepatosplenic Gamma-Delta T-Cell Lymphoma,
- Lymphoblastic Lymphoma,
- Mantle Cell Lymphoma,
- Marginal Zone Lymphoma,
- Nasal T-Cell Lymphoma,
- Pediatric Lymphoma,
- Peripheral T-Cell Lymphomas,
- Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma,
- T-Cell Leukemias,
- Transformed Lymphomas,
- Treatment-Related T-Cell Lymphomas, and
- Waldenström Macroglobulinemia
Time is ticking on these cases. The clock in most states starts when you knew or should have known about the link between cancer and Roundup. In some states you only have a year to file.
Not sure what to do? First, visit our Roundup Cancer Claims page. That has plenty of useful information including links to our Roundup resources page and videos.
Think you have a claim? Contact us online, by email or by phone at 202-800-9791. All inquiries are confidential and without cost. Cases are handled nationwide and on a contingency fee basis meaning you don’t pay unless we recover.