After an extensive five-week trial, a jury awarded an elderly couple $1 billion after discovering Bayer’s Monsanto company failed to warn them about the health risks of using the infamous weed killer Roundup. The Oakland, CA trial came about over whether the agrochemical behemoth knowingly sold the harmful weed killer despite the possibility of it causing cancer in consumers.
Alva and Alberta Pilliod, the couple at the heart of this lawsuit, regularly sprayed Roundup and later were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. They filed a lawsuit against Monsanto after the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as a likely human carcinogen.
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, has been linked to causing cancers like non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in consumers exposed to it for long periods of time. Monsanto has disputed the contention surrounding glyphosate, asserting that the science is unreliable. In this trial, Monsanto’s lawyers argued that the Pilliods were already at risk for developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and that the glyphosate in Roundup does not cause the mutations that lead to the Pilliods’ cancers.
However, the attorneys representing the Pilliods produced evidence that condemned Monsanto in the eyes of the jury. They presented evidence of text messages and emails that showed that Monsanto may have tried and succeeded at influencing the U.S. Environmental Agency’s decision on reviewing glyphosate and delaying the release of its toxicological profile.
The Pilliods are two of the hundreds of consumers who sued Monsanto for their Roundup-caused cancers, and many more are expected to flood in in the future.