The U.S. District Judge presiding over all Roundup lawsuits in the Roundup multidistrict litigation recently determined Monsanto Company should pay over $25M of the damages awarded to a Roundup cancer victim in the first bellwether trial. In a recently released court order, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria decided to uphold the jury’s full awarded amount of $5M in compensatory damages and a significant part of the punitive damages award which originally totaled to $75M.
“It is easy to uphold the award of past noneconomic damages. Mr. Hardeman presented substantial evidence of his past emotional and physical suffering, including the terror of being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the uncertainty surrounding his long-term prognosis, and the debilitating effects of chemotherapy. There is no basis for questioning the jury’s valuation of that suffering,” the July 15 order states.
Initially, a federal jury awarded Edwin Hardeman, a man diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after Roundup exposure, $80M in total damages. The verdict, announced March 2019, included the previously mentioned $5M in compensatory damages, but also awarded punitive damages nearly 15 times the amount of compensatory damages.
Monsanto Company appealed for the entire trial verdict to be overturned, but Judge Chhabria denied their request in the July 15 order. The order indicated that the evidence presented at the first bellwether trial supported the jury’s compensatory damages award, therefore a new trial would not be necessary.
“Based on the evidence that came in at the trial, Monsanto deserves to be punished,” according to the order signed off by Judge Chhabria.
Judge Chhabria reduced the original $75M punitive damages award to $20M, complying with constitutional limits indicated under the Due Process Clause. Despite the reduction in punitive damages, this trial marks yet another massive blow to Bayer’s Monsanto Company, who has lost billions in previous Roundup cancer trial verdicts. If a settlement in this litigation is not reached soon, large numbers of cases could be remanded back into the state court system they were originally filed in for individual trial dates.
Kirk, Austin. "Judge Determines Monsanto Should Pay More Than $25M to Man Diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma from Roundup." AboutLawsuitscom. July 16, 2019.