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breamfisherbreamfisher Senior MemberPosts: 5,805 Senior Member

Recently a California jury awarded a couple $2 Billion+ in damages from Bayer/Monsanto after they sued the company over their non-Hodgkins Lymphoma that they attributed to their long-term use of RoundUp. It's the third such suit of this nature where a CA jury has decided against Monsanto/Bayer. There's other such trials on the docket in other states coming up, so we'll see what happens there.

What confuses and confounds me about this is, how are juries awarding fault in these cases? Glyphosphate, the active ingredient in RoundUp, has been extensively studied in toxicology experiments and the results have overwhelmingly ranged from "no effect" to "a possible effect, maybe, but it seems to be negligible." Yes, I am aware of the Seralini paper, but I'm also aware that there were lots of issues with that study, not the least of which is using a rat breed known to spontaneously develop cancer to see if a glyphosphate causes cancer.

So my question in all this is, how does a jury award a judgement when the scientific evidence doesn't show there to be a connection?

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bayer-glyphosate-lawsuit/california-jury-hits-bayer-with-2-billion-award-in-roundup-cancer-trial-idUSKCN1SJ29F

Replies

  • Green Mt BoyGreen Mt Boy Senior Member Posts: 1,076 Senior Member

    The jury must have felt that by a preponderance of the evidence (e.g., more likely than not) there is a causal link, as that term was explained to them by the judge in his instructions to the jury, between the plaintiffs' health condition and their use of Round Up. The plaintiffs undoubtedly presented expert witness testimony that the jury felt was more convincing than contrary evidence presented by Monsanto.

    Monsanto can appeal, but the appellate court will review a factual determination like causation under a "clearly erroneous" standard of review.

    I see from the article that the bulk of the jury;s award is attributable to punitive damages and that it is likely that on appeal the punies will be reduced.

  • MikeAMikeA Senior Member Posts: 5,592 Senior Member

    Last year a very good friend of mine's wife was out spraying roundup all day at their farm. I'm told she sprayed several gallons of it with no protection of any kind. Only wearing shorts and a summer top. Later that night she started having trouble breathing. The Paramedics were called and she was taken to the nearest hospital. She died shortly after she arrived at the hospital. They told my friend it was a reaction from the exposure to roundup that caused her death. Be careful with that crap.

  • NZ IndicatorNZ Indicator Senior Member Posts: 11,543 Senior Member
    edited May 2019 #4

    Maybe because glyphosphate isn't really the problem in roundup?

    David H. Monroe, an Industrial and Environmental Toxicologist, stated in an October 16, 1989 letter to the National Campaign Against the Misuse of Pesticides (NCAMP) that most polyalkoxylated surfactants such as the polyoxyethylene alkylamine in RoundUp are contaminated with 1,4-dioxane. A study done by Monroe on Vision, a glyphosate product by Monsanto, revealed that it contained 1,4-dioxane at a level of 350 ppm.

    (Monroe D, 1989. Letter to NCAMP.)

    1,4-dioxane is carcinogenic, and is known to damage the liver, kidney, brain and lungs.

    http://www.naturescountrystore.com/roundup/page2.html

  • sherbsherb Senior Member Posts: 5,801 Senior Member

    @breamfisher said:
    Recently a California jury awarded a couple $2 Billion+ in damages from Bayer/Monsanto after they sued the company over their non-Hodgkins Lymphoma that they attributed to their long-term use of RoundUp. It's the third such suit of this nature where a CA jury has decided against Monsanto/Bayer. There's other such trials on the docket in other states coming up, so we'll see what happens there.

    What confuses and confounds me about this is, how are juries awarding fault in these cases? Glyphosphate, the active ingredient in RoundUp, has been extensively studied in toxicology experiments and the results have overwhelmingly ranged from "no effect" to "a possible effect, maybe, but it seems to be negligible." Yes, I am aware of the Seralini paper, but I'm also aware that there were lots of issues with that study, not the least of which is using a rat breed known to spontaneously develop cancer to see if a glyphosphate causes cancer.

    So my question in all this is, how does a jury award a judgement when the scientific evidence doesn't show there to be a connection?

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bayer-glyphosate-lawsuit/california-jury-hits-bayer-with-2-billion-award-in-roundup-cancer-trial-idUSKCN1SJ29F

    Better experts, better advocacy. Forum shopping for the jurors/Judge. Low standard of proof in a civil case. sympathetic plaintiff. Could be anything really.

    If Roundup is toxic I'm in big trouble. :)

  • sherbsherb Senior Member Posts: 5,801 Senior Member

    The damage award is insane though. I think the damage award will be vacated on appeal.

    No one knows where the appellate court comes down now, so both sides have incentives to settle on the damages.

  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 5,805 Senior Member

    @sherb said:

    @breamfisher said:
    Recently a California jury awarded a couple $2 Billion+ in damages from Bayer/Monsanto after they sued the company over their non-Hodgkins Lymphoma that they attributed to their long-term use of RoundUp. It's the third such suit of this nature where a CA jury has decided against Monsanto/Bayer. There's other such trials on the docket in other states coming up, so we'll see what happens there.

    What confuses and confounds me about this is, how are juries awarding fault in these cases? Glyphosphate, the active ingredient in RoundUp, has been extensively studied in toxicology experiments and the results have overwhelmingly ranged from "no effect" to "a possible effect, maybe, but it seems to be negligible." Yes, I am aware of the Seralini paper, but I'm also aware that there were lots of issues with that study, not the least of which is using a rat breed known to spontaneously develop cancer to see if a glyphosphate causes cancer.

    So my question in all this is, how does a jury award a judgement when the scientific evidence doesn't show there to be a connection?

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bayer-glyphosate-lawsuit/california-jury-hits-bayer-with-2-billion-award-in-roundup-cancer-trial-idUSKCN1SJ29F

    Better experts, better advocacy. Forum shopping for the jurors/Judge. Low standard of proof in a civil case. sympathetic plaintiff. Could be anything really.

    If Roundup is toxic I'm in big trouble. :)

    Yeah, I'm just trying to wrap my head around this whole thing. I've been seeing it blow up on social media, especially with the idea that "California juries have PROVEN RoundUp to be toxic." Which they haven't. I've been trying to find actual research one way or the other, and really haven't found anything. The only stuff about glyphosphate or contaminants have come from obviously biased sources. That's not to say that a small percentage of folks can't have a deleterious negative reaction.

    I'm just trying to figure out how a judgement can be awarded when the connection can't be verified by science.

  • George KGeorge K Super Moderator Posts: 11,146 Senior Member

    Juries don't need proof, just convincing arguments. :)

    "...this low-rent Lear raging on his Twitter-heath has proven that the phrase malignant buffoon is not an oxymoron..."

    George Will
  • creekyguycreekyguy Posts: 361 Senior Member

    IMO Monsanto/bayer are paying a price for ignoring the issue of public opinion. They think they can't win and ignore the media. Like the oil giants, they concentrate on controlling the politicians. It should be pointed out that Roundup and the whole GMO thing is responsible for feeding a lot of the worlds poor. And without such new tech there will be no way to feed the next few billions of the world population.

  • George KGeorge K Super Moderator Posts: 11,146 Senior Member

    @Green Mt Boy said:
    The jury must have felt that by a preponderance of the evidence (e.g., more likely than not) there is a causal link, as that term was explained to them by the judge in his instructions to the jury, between the plaintiffs' health condition and their use of Round Up. The plaintiffs undoubtedly presented expert witness testimony that the jury felt was more convincing than contrary evidence presented by Monsanto.

    Monsanto can appeal, but the appellate court will review a factual determination like causation under a "clearly erroneous" standard of review.

    I see from the article that the bulk of the jury;s award is attributable to punitive damages and that it is likely that on appeal the punies will be reduced.

    I thought the "clearly erroneous" standard applies to cases decided by judges, and that for jury decisions the more lenient "substantial evidence" standard would be used. Has this changed over time, or am I wrong?

    When you have dueling experts it might be difficult to overturn the jury's verdict, although it's dollars to donuts that the amount awarded will be greatly reduced.

    "...this low-rent Lear raging on his Twitter-heath has proven that the phrase malignant buffoon is not an oxymoron..."

    George Will
  • Green Mt BoyGreen Mt Boy Senior Member Posts: 1,076 Senior Member

    George, this is what the courts say in considering a challenge to a jury's verdict: "we apply the same standard as the trial court, asking 'whether, taking the evidence in the light most favorable to the prevailing party and excluding any modifying evidence, there is any evidence which fairly and reasonably tends to support the jury verdict.'"

  • CO NativeCO Native Senior Member Posts: 1,983 Senior Member

    It's California. Just look at who they vote for and that explains a lot of how crazy they are.

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