Couple Awarded $2 Billion in Lawsuit Against Bayer/Monsanto

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Oakland, CA—A California jury awarded over $2 billion to a couple that developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) after years of using Roundup, the glyphosate-based weed killer produced by Monsanto/Bayer, according to The Guardian. Alva and Alberta Pilliod were each awarded $1 billion, and the jury ordered the company to pay more than $55 million in compensatory damages.

The Pilliods are in their 70s. They used Roundup for more than 30 years, The Guardian reports, to landscape multiple properties. In 2011, Alva was diagnosed with systemic NHL in his bones, which spread to his pelvis and spine. Alberta was diagnosed with NHL brain cancer in 2015.

While both are currently in remission, they testified that they’re suffering lasting damage. Buzzfeed News quoted Alberta Pilliod as saying at a press conference: “It’s changed our lives forever. We can’t do the things that we used to be able to do, and we really resent Monsanto for that fact.” Buzzfeed noted that Alberta still needs around $20,000 per month in medication to fight a twice-detected brain tumor.

In previous trials, Dewayne Johnson was awarded $289 million last year—later reduced to $78 million—and Edwin Hardeman was awarded $80 million earlier this year.

The Guardian quotes Brent Wisner, one of the Pilliods’ attorneys, as saying: “Monsanto has never had any interest in finding out whether Roundup is safe. Instead of investing in sound science, they invested millions in attacking science that threatened their business agenda.”

The Guardian reports that another attorney for the Pilliods’, Michael Miller, added that the judge permitted the legal team to present “significant” evidence regarding Monsanto’s conduct, as opposed to previous trials, where evidence was limited. “We were finally allowed to show a jury the mountain of evidence showing Monsanto’s manipulation of science, the media and regulatory agencies to forward their own agenda despite Roundup’s severe harm to the animal kingdom and humankind,” he said.

According to The Guardian, Bayer was “disappointed” in the decision and will appeal.

As The Guardian reported, there are now around 13,400 similar cases pending in state and federal courts across the United States.

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