Bayer Monsanto Merger Comes With Weedkiller Cancer Controversy

April 4, 2019 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Bayer Monsanto Merger Comes With Weedkiller Cancer Controversy

Roundup Lawsuits Cost New Monsanto Owner Millions

Multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company Bayer has suffered the loss of millions of dollars in the form of payments of lawsuits against their acquisition Monsanto. The Germany-based company has acquired Monsanto fairly recently after proposing the action in 2016 and now is realizing that the choice to buy Monsanto is coming with unseen consequences in the form of the recent Roundup weedkiller lawsuits against the massive agricultural company. Several product liability lawsuits against Monsanto claimed that long-term exposure to Roundup weedkiller contributed to the development of cancer in the plaintiffs.

Bayer Merger with Monsanto

Bayer AG is a German multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company and one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. The merger with Monsanto which primarily deals in agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology came in response to the merging of several other major chemical and pharmaceutical companies such as Dow with Dupont and ChemChina with Syngenta. In an attempt to reinvent itself as a life-science firm with a focus on health and agriculture, Bayer ended up merging with Monsanto in an enormous $66 billion dollar deal. The merger encountered problems right from the getgo. Upon attempting to merge, concerns were raised here in the U.S. over antitrust issues the merger posed. The merger managed to go through once Bayer agreed to the justice department's demands to sell off its competing weedkiller to Monsanto's Roundup and sell off its cotton, canola, soybean, vegetable seed businesses, a number of research and development projects, and their own digital agriculture business. These assets ended up being sold to chemicals company BASF for $9 billion. 

Monsanto Weedkiller Cancer Lawsuits

Bayer's recent acquisition Monsanto in addition to its many resources and business ventures also came with some unwanted product liability lawsuits. Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller became the focus of several product liability lawsuits that claimed the product contributed to cancer development upon long-term exposure and that Monsanto failed not only to provide warning of these negative health effects but also that Monsanto had reason to be aware of these negative health effects and failed to do anything demonstrating negligence. Now even companies like Costco are pulling glyphosate-containing products like Roundup from their shelves as a result of these recent lawsuits.

Dewayne Johnson vs. Monsanto Lawsuit

Two of the product liability lawsuits filed against Monsanto have so far managed to attain success. The first lawsuit was filed in 2016 by Dewayne Johnson who claimed that Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller contributed to the development of his terminal non-Hodkin's lymphoma after he used their product for several years as a groundskeeper. Dewayne Johnson was able to make his case after having several expert witnesses testify about how the Roundup ingredient glyphosate has been connected to an increased risk of cancer development via several studies. A verdict was reached in late 2018 when a jury unanimously found that Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller was a contributing factor towards the development of his terminal non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The main issue was that in terms of product liability, Monsanto was negligent due to the fact that they put out a product that could potentially harm consumers without any kind of warning. On top of this Monsanto should have had knowledge of Roundup weedkiller's carcinogenic qualities yet decided to produce it anyways. In the end, Dewayne Johnson was awarded $289 million and Monsanto's product would be placed under further scrutiny.

Edwin Hardeman vs. Monsanto Lawsuit

The second landmark case against Monsanto regarding their weedkiller involved Edwin Hardeman who also contracted lymphatic cancer after using Roundup weedkiller on his property for almost three decades. Much like the case with Dewayne Johnson, Edwin Hardeman was able to prove that his long-term exposure to Roundup weedkiller's glyphosate helped contribute to the development of his lymphoma. Just as with Dewayne Johnson, a jury found that his claims of his cancer being caused in part by glyphosate bore merit and Edwin Hardeman was awarded over $80 million.

Additional Roundup Weedkiller Lawsuits Over Cancer Risk

As a result of the two successful product liability lawsuits filed against them succeeding, Monsanto, and by extension Bayer, now have a precedent set against them where their glyphosate-containing products can potentially be responsible for the development of cancers such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. They now must contend with a flood of thousands of claims being brought up against them for their negligence in selling a product to consumers with potential health hazards and no warning of any kind.  

Glyphosate Cancer Risk and You

In 2015 the World Health Organization has called glyphosate a “probable human carcinogen,” and in 2017, the state of California added it to its list of cancer-causing chemicals. Additional studies continue to find that there is definitely a connection between glyphosate using products and an increase in cancer risk. The question this poses for many is how this can affect you. As far as the two successful cases against Monsanto go, the exposure to glyphosate-containing weedkiller was over a long period of time and fairly frequent since the plaintiffs were a groundskeeper and a large property owner that had to use weedkiller much more than the average person. Those that have fairly limited exposure to Roundup and other weedkillers that contain glyphosate will likely have a significantly smaller chance to contract something like lymphoma. While glyphosate is anything but good to be exposed to, the average person that sprays weedkiller infrequently is not likely to have as much of a case as Johnson and Hardeman.

Suing for Cancer Caused by Glyphosate Caused Cancer

However, depending on the circumstances they may be able to take legal action if they are exposed to glyphosate due to working in an agricultural or landscaping profession which are very high risk or they simply prove that they use glyphosate products frequently in personal us like Hardeman. Those that are suffering from lymphatic cancer and believe it is the result of glyphosate exposure can potentially take legal action against those liable like Monsanto. Roundup weedkiller made by Monsanto is not the only weedkiller that uses glyphosate and other products and brands may have acted in a similar fashion. A product liability lawsuit can ensure that the negligent parties responsible for putting such a potentially harmful product on the market with no warning are held accountable for their actions.

Seek an Experienced Product Liability Attorney

If you or a loved one have been injured because of a product's negligent design or manufacture, then do not hesitate to contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA about a free consultation on your claim. Our skilled lawyers have the expertise you will need to secure the settlement that you deserve. Dolman Law has years of experience when it comes to handling product liability claims and ensuring that our clients receive the compensation that they need in order to pay off their medical expenses, lost wages, etc. When you enlist the assistance of Dolman Law you are ensuring that your case gets the small firm attention it deserves with big firm results. Contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA's offices online or call us at 727-451-6900. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 727-451-6900


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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