Bayer AG on Monday faced a second U.S. jury over allegations that its popular glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup causes cancer, six months after the company’s share price was rocked by a $289 million verdict in California state court.
The lawsuit by California resident Edwin Hardeman against the company began on Monday morning in federal rather than state court. The trial is also a test case for a larger litigation. More than 760 of the 9,300 Roundup cases nationwide are consolidated in the federal court in San Francisco that is hearing Hardeman’s case.
Bayer denies all allegations that Roundup or glyphosate cause cancer, saying decades of independent studies have shown the world’s most widely used weed killer to be safe for human use and noting that regulators around the world have approved the product.
During the first phase in the trial, the nine-person jury is asked to weigh scientific evidence to determine whether Roundup caused Hardeman’s cancer.
Aimee Wagstaff, a lawyer for Hardeman, told a packed courtroom during her opening statement on Monday that chemicals in Roundup made the weed killer more toxic than glyphosate alone, causing the man’s cancer.
But U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, who presides over the federal litigation, repeatedly scolded her for “crossing the line” by referring to internal corporate communications the judge has said have no bearing on the science in the case.
“You completely disregarded the limitations,” Chhabria said.
In a January ruling, Chhabria called evidence by plaintiffs that the company allegedly attempted to influence regulators and manipulate public opinion “a distraction” from the scientific question of whether glyphosate causes cancer.
If the jury determines Roundup caused Hardeman’s cancer, the judge said such evidence could be presented in a second trial phase.
Plaintiffs criticized Chhabria’s order dividing the trial and restricting evidence as “unfair,” saying their scientific evidence allegedly showing glyphosate causes cancer is inextricably linked to Monsanto’s alleged wrongful conduct.
Evidence of corporate misconduct was seen as playing a key role in the finding by a California state court jury in August that Roundup caused another man’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and that Bayer’s Monsanto unit failed to warn consumers about the weed killer’s cancer risks. That jury’s $289 million damages award was later reduced to $78 million.
Bayer’s share price dropped 10 percent following the verdict and has remained volatile.
Hardeman began using the Roundup brand herbicide with glyphosate in the 1980s to control poison oak and weeds on his property and sprayed “large volumes” of the chemical for many years on a regular basis, according to court documents. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph system, in February 2015 and filed his lawsuit a year later.
But Hardeman has a history of hepatitis C, a risk factor for developing lymphoma. Bayer in court filings also said the majority of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma incidents are idiopathic, or have no known cause.
Reporting by Jim Christie in San Francisco, Writing by Tina Bellon; editing by Anthony Lin and Lisa Shumamker
The real problem wasn’t the racism — it was the Trump taking ‘the Lord’s name in vain’ twice: supporter
President Donald Trump was widely condemned after supporters at a campaign rally in West Virginia turned his racist "go back" message into a "Send Her Back" chant against one of a woman of color in Congress.
One Trump supporter in West Virginia also criticized the speech, but not for the racist targeting of Rep. Ilhan Omar.
State Senator Paul Hardesty, a Democrat, wrote to the White House to complain about Trump's use of the word "goddamn."
The letter was republished by the Montgomery-Herald.
Tongue-tied GOP strategist crashes and burns on-air while trying to deny Trump’s racism
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"I do not believe that the president’s tweets were racist. I do believe they were not well thought out. He needs that extra, 'Are you sure?' button on Twitter," Tarkanian argued.
"I'm a black man, I'm a Republican and a black man," the Rev. Joe Watkins interjected. "My mother's an immigrant, I would be angry if someone said that to my mother."
"Oh, it’s very offensive. But he did not say, because you are this color, go back to where you came from," Tarkanian argued. "I’m not supporting that tweet. Was it racist? No. Was it stupid? Yes."
Trump supporter blames Democrats for being targeted by the president: ‘Why is that racist?’
CNN interviewed a supporter of President Donald Trump in Eau Claire, Wisconsin who refused to acknowledge the racism in the president's "Go Back" attacks on four women of color in Congress.
The network interviewed Kerri Krumenauer of Wiersgalla Plumbing & Heating Company about Trump's attacks.
"How is it racist?" she asked.
"If you don't like this country, get out," she demanded. "Leave!"
She then showed how misinformed she was about the incident.
"He didn't use any names -- they stood up," she falsely claimed. In fact, Trump did use names and the targets did not stand up as they were not at his North Carolina campaign rally.