Only two cases out of more than 11,000 Roundup suits have gone to trial in the US, and as of Tuesday, they both had the same result: A jury found that the glyphosate-filled weed killer causes cancer. Reuters notes that's only phase one, however, in Edwin Hardeman's case, with the cause of his cancer kept separate from potential liability by Bayer AG, which acquired Monsanto, the weed killer's maker, last year. The unanimous decision handed down this week by a federal court said Roundup was a "substantial factor" in Hardeman's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, moving the case into liability phase, where Hardeman's legal team will argue that Monsanto misled the public on glyphosate's health risks and should be held responsible, per the New York Times. "We feel confident ... a jury ... will see that Monsanto has committed 40 years of corporate malfeasance," a Hardeman attorney says.
This decision comes on the heels of last August's ruling that Monsanto must pay Dewayne Johnson $289 million, finding the weed killer contributed to his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; per Reuters, that amount has since been reduced to $78 million and the case is in appeals. Bolstering Bayer's argument is the fact that regulators such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the European Chemicals Agency have ruled glyphosate isn't a likely carcinogen, though the World Health Organization disagrees and says it "probably" is. "We have great sympathy for Mr. Hardeman ... but an extensive body of science supports the conclusion that Roundup was not the cause of his cancer," Bayer says in a statement. Both Johnson's and Hardeman's cases are said to be bellwethers on what will happen with the thousands of other pending cases from gardeners, farmers, and landscapers, per the Wall Street Journal. (Read more Roundup stories.)