Monsanto hit with $175m verdict against Roundup

A Philadelphia jury on Friday hit Monsanto with a $175 million verdict in favor of a cancer patient who claimed the company failed to warn about known carcinogens in its best-selling herbicide, Roundup.

The verdict is part of a string of nine- and 10-figure judgments against the Bayer AG subsidiary in recent years, including 2019 verdicts of $2 billion in Oakland, Calif., and $289 million in San Francisco – although those verdicts were substantially reduced upon appeal.

“It’s a tremendous result,” said R. Brent Wisner, managing partner and lead trial attorney at Wisner Baum who won the $2 billion Roundup cancer verdict against Monsanto in 2019.

“This case has always been about the science, and this new verdict puts a huge exclamation point on that fact. It’s about time for Monsanto to finally, once and for all, pull this product off the market and negotiate a global settlement. It’s time to bring an end to the glyphosate chapter in our country.”

Bayer countered in a statement: “We respectfully disagree with the jury’s divided verdict and are confident we can get this unfounded verdict overturned and the excessive damage awards reduced through our appeal.”

Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used weed-killing chemical and is the active ingredient in Roundup. It is linked to a number of health problems, from cancer and neurological diseases to endocrine disruption and birth defects.

But the full range of glyphosate’s health effects remains unknown, and a number of jurisdictions – including the European Union – are wrestling over whether to keep glyphosate products on the market.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” But the European Food Safety Authority this summer did not identify any “critical areas of concern” impacting public health or the environment in its review of glyphosate. And in the United States, the federal Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that Roundup is safe to use and that glyphosate is “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”

Friday’s verdict on behalf of retired restaurateur Ernest Caranci is the first of more than 200 cases filed since 2022 waiting to go to trial in Philadelphia alone, according to the court’s website. Bayer settled most Roundup claims against it in 2020 for $10.9 billion. And while Bayer has recently prevailed against nine consecutive cases bringing similar claims as Caranci’s, thousands of additional lawsuits are waiting in state and federal courts.