RoundUp has been a contentious product for several years. The product has often been tied to cancer but a lack of overwhelming evidence has kept solid scientific conclusions away. Legally, however, juries have consistently ruled against the parent company Monsanto, issuing verdicts in the millions and billions of dollars. On May 14th, CNN reported the largest verdict yet, $2.055 billion, was issued against Monsanto. More disturbing, however, was evidence that Monsanto’s undue influence over science, media, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may have been part of the reason for this scientific debate.
Uncovering Monsanto’s Undue Influence
The story of discovering Monsanto’s undue influence begins with a jury that handed a yet unmatched $2.055 billion verdict in favor of septuagenarian plaintiffs Alva and Alberta Pilliod in California. The plaintiff’s attorneys claim that the elderly couple used RoundUp on their property for over 30 years and within four years of one another were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Their case proceeded to trial and on May 14th, 2019, a jury found their claim justified and issued Monsanto a verdict of $2.055 billion. Of that sum, the jury assigned $55 million to Monsanto for compensatory damages to go to the couple and an additional $2 billion in punitive damages for wrongdoing.
For more stories of victims of RoundUp and their settlements, see Parker Waichman’s coverage of the LA RoundUp Ban here.
Reviewing Evidence of Monsanto’s Undue Influence
During the course of the trial, there was presented evidence which heavily suggested Monsanto’s undue influence over several parties. According to internal company documents, regulators, media outlets, and scientists researching RoundUp’s effects were all found to be exposed to Monsanto’s undue influence.
According to Michael Miller, one of the Pilliod’s lawyers, previous lawsuits against Monsanto, while winning, had only been allowed to show a small portion of the evidence of Monsanto’s undue influence. In this trial, however, Miller stated that the jury was shown “[a] mountain of evidence showing Monsanto’s manipulation of science, the media, and regulatory agencies to forward their own agenda.”
While any evidence of Monsanto’s Undue Influence would have been devastating to their defense, the evidence displayed for the jury included emails and text messages between Monsanto and EPA officials, which a Monsanto spokeswoman had previously publicly denied as ever occurring. Specifically, the spokeswoman denied that Monsanto had ever given gifts to, paid, or curried favor with anyone from the EPA. The relationship demonstrated by the text messages and emails, however, points to a different conclusion and also may help to explain why Monsanto clings to the EPA’s conclusion that glyphosate, the main ingredient in RoundUp, is likely not cancerous.
Other organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) have actually determined the exact opposite and state that glyphosate is likely carcinogenic. With thousands of similar cases pending at the federal or state level or entering mediation, the evidence of Monsanto’s undue influence may put the company further on the back foot when trying to win over a jury.
Despite the evidence and research, Bayer has stated that they are disappointed with the jury’s decision and will appeal the verdict in this case as with the other ones it has lost.
To see Parker Waichman’s summation of the research and risks of RoundUp, visit their in-depth analysis here.
How Monsanto’s Undue Influence Affects Future Cases
The news of Monsanto’s undue influence over media, science, and the EPA may sound disheartening to individuals who were hoping to see justice served for their injuries, but in many ways, this is a big win for future plaintiffs. A jury has already agreed that Monsanto’s undue influence is something to be punished and Monsanto has also lost all three of the cases that were brought against them. With this precedent established, this evidence of misconduct is actually helpful to plaintiffs that may seek to pursue damages for wrongdoing.
If you or a loved one are seeking damages for your own health complications due to RoundUp exposure, be sure to pick the right legal team to get the compensation you deserve: Parker Waichman LLP. At Parker Waichman, teams of experienced trial lawyers are standing by, ready to pursue your claims to the fullest extent of the law. Don’t wait for compensation any longer. Contact Parker Waichman today for a free consultation and start getting your life back on track.
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