German chemical giant Bayer is facing litigation costs that stem from its ownership of Monsanto, a company that made the German behemoth a leader in the agricultural supplies sector. The €56.6 billion takeover completed in 2018 means Bayer is open to billions in litigation costs for the production of Roundup, a best-selling weed killer, that has been used for decades.
Monsanto faces a lawsuit by a 70-year old California resident, Edwin Hardeman, who has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, attributed to the long-term use of the herbicide Roundup. A San Francisco jury came to the unanimous decision that Roundup is responsible for his deteriorating health due to the presence of the carcinogenic Glyphosate, which is considered hazardous by the UN’s World Health Organization.
Glyphosate is a herbicide used to kill broadleaf plants and grasses since 1974. According to a 2015 World Health Organization (WHO) study the agent has carcinogenic potential as it affects the human endocrinal system. It has been suggested that Roundup contains many more chemical agents that multiply the toxicity of glyphosate.
US District Judge Vince Chhabria can now establish guidelines for settlements of about 760 cases against Monsanto in San Francisco, and more than 11,000 pending elsewhere.
The first trial against Monsanto took place in San Francisco in 2018, when a court awarded Dewayne “Lee” Johnson $286 million after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma following years of spraying the school grounds with the same herbicide. On appeal, a court reduced this amount to $78,5 million.