blog home Product Liability California Couple Awarded $2 Billion in Lawsuit Against Monsanto

California Couple Awarded $2 Billion in Lawsuit Against Monsanto

By Jason Bottlinger on May 24, 2019

On May 13th, 2019, a jury in Oakland, California, awarded Alva and Alberta Pilliod $2 billion in disciplinary damages after they reached the conclusion that consistent exposure to a weed-killing product produced by Monsanto Co. led to the couple’s cancer diagnoses. The Pilliods were also awarded $55 million for pain and suffering, as well as medical expenses, by the jury.

Seventy-six-year-old Alva and 74-year-old Alberta Pilliod were said to have been regularly using Roundup for 30 years. Roundup, an herbicide chemical spray used for residential landscaping, is believed to have played a “substantial factor” in the Pilliods’ development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Alva received his diagnosis in 2011; his wife, Alberta, received the exact same diagnosis four years later. Currently, both Alberta and Alva are in remission.

What Is Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer that originates in the white blood cells and affects the body’s lymphatic system. It is a key part of the body’s immune system and helps fight infections as well as other diseases. It is also one of the major systems in the body to help move and regulate fluids. Lymphomas can start anywhere in the body where lymph tissue is found, like the lymph nodes, spleen, tonsils, and more.

It is believed that the chemical glyphosate, which is an ingredient in Roundup, may cause cancer if individuals are consistently exposed to it.

Not the First Time Monsanto Had to Pay Out

This massive settlement is not the first Roundup-centered product liability case that Monsanto and its parent company, Bayer, have lost in the state of California.

The first case involved school groundskeeper Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, who was awarded $78.5 million by the time the case was said and done. Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014, and had regularly used a highly concentrated version of Roundup known as Ranger Pro as part of his job from 2012 to 2016.

In another case, a California federal court jury awarded more than $80 million to Edwin Hardeman, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma back in 2015. Hardeman had used Roundup for more than 25 years while landscaping his property in Sonoma.

Bayer’s Response

Monsanto’s parent company, Bayer, had a statement released, claiming that the both Alva and Alberta Pilliod had “long histories of illnesses known to be substantial risk factors for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma” and rebuked claims that the active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, has any link to cancer. Bayer has promised to appeal the court’s decision as soon as possible.

Brent Wisner, attorney for the Pilliod family, spoke to the media after the verdict had been handed down, saying: “The jury saw for themselves internal company documents demonstrating that, from day one, Monsanto has never had any interest in finding out whether Roundup is safe.”

In response to Bayer claiming that glyphosate has no links to cancer, Wisner replied, “Instead of investing in sound science, they invested millions in attacking science that threatened their business agend

Following the ruling, Bayer’s stock price took a hit. The stock closed at $15.91 a share, down 45 cents or 2.76% per share, on the New York Stock Exchange.

When Is a Company Liable for a Product?

When it comes to product liability, it must be established that the product was defective or harmful to a consumer. What matters even more is that the product was responsible for the injuries or illnesses the victims are suffering. Proving this can be complicated, especially when the company has a big-money legal team and a series of experts to claim that there is nothing harmful about the product.

Showing that a product in question had an adverse effect on your health, or the health of a loved one, requires expert medical opinions and scientific research to demonstrate the causality. If you have an experienced product liability attorney on your side, he can dive deep in the technical jargon and fight the battle to ensure you get justice.

Call Bottlinger Law L.L.C. Today!

If you or a loved one has developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after routine use of Roundup and its family of products, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Omaha legal team at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. and let our Omaha mass tort attorney get you the justice you deserve. Call us at (402) 505-8234 today to schedule a free consultation, and we can discus your options moving forward.

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