Monsanto to Pay $80M in Roundup Cancer Case

June 18, 2024 | By Riddle & Brantley Accident Injury Lawyers
Monsanto to Pay $80M in Roundup Cancer Case

Monsanto is one of the largest companies in the United States with a very firm foothold in the agriculture industry. Countless agricultural companies use Monsanto products, especially the company’s flagship product Roundup, a highly effective weed killer. Despite the fact that Roundup is one of the most effective products of its kind on the market, the herbicide uses a glyphosate base, and numerous studies now link glyphosate exposure to the development of certain cancers.

The Hardeman v. Monsanto Case

Edwin Hardeman recently secured an $80 million verdict in his product liability lawsuit against Monsanto. The former groundskeeper alleged that consistent exposure to Roundup while performing job duties caused him to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Despite Monsanto’s repeated claims that Roundup does not cause cancer, the second jury within eight months recently ruled in favor of Mr. Hardeman, holding Monsanto accountable for the dangerous nature of Roundup and their other products. The investigations related to Mr. Hardeman’s case and others filed against Monsanto for similar claims appear to refute Monsanto’s claims concerning the safety of Roundup. Scientific studies now show that glyphosate, the main active ingredient in Roundup, is highly dangerous when it comes to human exposure.

Public Safety Risk of Roundup

Mr. Hardeman won such a large settlement due to the severe nature of his cancer and the discovery of corporate malfeasance on part of Monsanto. The company apparently tried to convince Environmental Protection Agency officials into looking the other way when it came to research that refuted the company’s claims of Roundup’s safety. The Department of Agriculture reported that commercial agriculture workers in the U.S. sprayed roughly 240 million pounds of glyphosate on crops in 2014 alone, and now the substance contaminates air, water, and soil across large swathes of America’s arable land. The two most affected crops in the U.S. are soybeans and corn, two staple crops used to develop countless food products and ingredients. Oats have also been affected; agriculture workers often use glyphosate as a drying agent to speed up harvesting times for oat crops. Using glyphosate on crops before they can naturally dry out for harvesting significantly increases the chances of allowing the pesticide to affect the food products made with those crops.

Elements of Product Liability Lawsuits

Mr. Hardeman’s victory against Monsanto is a perfect example of a product liability lawsuit in action. All product manufacturers must ensure their products perform as advertised and intended, pose no unreasonable risks to end users through normal use, and include appropriate safety warnings and instructions for proper use. When a defective or unreasonably dangerous product harms an end user, the manufacturer is liable for the resulting damages. Monsanto has apparently not only released an unreasonably dangerous product that does not meet claimed capabilities, but the company has also been attempting to quell research disproving the alleged safety of Roundup and other glyphosate-based products. The main complaint against Monsanto is the company’s failure to warn end users of known risks of using their products. A company may face a product liability lawsuit if a product is defective in one of three main ways:
  • A design defect means every product made with the flawed design shares the same defect, potentially exposing end users to the same risks.
  • Production defects may only affect certain units or production lots and manufacturers typically halt production once they identify a defect with a manufacturing process.
  • Defective marketing can apply to misrepresented products, products that fail to warn users of known risks of using those products, or products that do not meet claimed capabilities.
The Monsanto case involves inaccurate marketing and deception. The company failed to warn users of known risks of using one of the company’s most popular product and in doing so essentially exposed countless people to dangerous carcinogens. Monsanto faces dropping stock prices and increased public scrutiny, and the Hardeman v. Monsanto case is an indication the company likely faces further legal action from other individuals who have developed medical issues due to Roundup exposure. These cases should not be taken lightly, reach out to a product liability attorney if you have questions regarding Monsanto chemicals.