Roundup Weedkiller Cancer Lawsuit Scientific Evidence Under Fire

April 1, 2019 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Roundup Weedkiller Cancer Lawsuit Scientific Evidence Under Fire

Weedkiller Lawsuit Appeal Blames Verdict on Bad Scientific Evidence

A major lawsuit against the Roundup weedkiller manufacturer, Monsanto by a man that claimed that their weedkiller caused his lymphatic cancer, resulted in a verdict awarding $289 million dollars in damages to the plaintiff. The success of the case has been primarily attributed to the use of scientific evidence in the form of studies and expert opinions that asserted that the weedkiller ingredient, glyphosate is carcinogenic repeated exposure contributed to the plaintiff's cancer. Recently, the Bayer unit, Monsanto has stated that they intend to file an appeal to the verdict on the grounds that the scientific evidence that was presented should have been barred since it contradicted decades of scientific studies that suggested that glyphosate does not have cancer-causing properties. Monsanto argues that the evidence presented by the plaintiff consisted of cherry-picked results and methods from otherwise respected and peer-reviewed studies. According to Monsanto, the plaintiff's lawyers utilized emotionally charged arguments and statements from certain studies to paint Monsanto in a malicious light.

Evidence Standards in Weed Killer Lawsuits

Monsanto is trying to claim that the evidence standards expected of the court their case was tried in, were not upheld. These kinds of evidence standards are put in place in order to ensure that all evidence brought before a court is not unsubstantiated or biased in a way that would disrupt the justice process. In the weedkiller case, the scientific evidence was from reliable sources yet the evidence was strategically chosen in order to give the plaintiff's case an advantage. In addition to this evidence, there was a concerted use of lawyer statements and expert opinion that gave the plaintiff's case enough weight to succeed and result in a $289 million dollar verdict. It is not unusual for two different sides of a lawsuit to draw different conclusions on the evidence presented by the same study. It's a matter of which side is able to make the more convincing argument with that evidence and in this case, that would be the plaintiff's lawyers. Ultimately, one could see that Monsanto's attempts to appeal the verdict reached, will likely not succeed due to their grounds being too loose and unsubstantial. This brings to mind how exactly does evidence work in a civil lawsuit.

Evidence in a Civil Lawsuit

Evidence the ammunition that determines whether or not you are going to win a civil lawsuit. The more you have and the better the quality, the better your chances at success. As one can imagine, the kinds of evidence you can present in court can be quite varied depending on the kind of case. In the Roundup weedkiller lawsuit, the plaintiff was able to prove their case through the presentation of scientific evidence in the form of studies and research as well as expert testimony. This is the usual makeup of evidence that a product liability case will utilize. However, there are many other forms of evidence that can be presented to prove a product liability claim.

Proving an Injury in a Product Liability Claim

First and foremost, in order to make a successful claim and get the settlement you want, you are going to need to prove that the liable party that you are suing was negligent and therefore responsible for the injuries that you sustained. In order to do this, you will need evidence that shows that either the liable party was negligent in designing the product or manufacturing the product and that negligence resulted in you sustaining an injury.

Eyewitnesses of a Product Caused Injury

In certain instances, negligence in a products design or manufacture can be proved by the testimony of an eyewitness. An eyewitness is an individual who was present and saw the accident and/or injury the lawsuit is based on. For example, a product's malfunction can injure someone in the presence of a witness. The testimony of that witness or witnesses can lend credibility to the plaintiff's claim.

Physical Evidence in a Product Liability Claim

In a product liability claim, the product itself can be a powerful piece of evidence; especially if it's negligent design or manufacturing flaw is easy to show to the court. Physical evidence is not only limited to that. Anything affected by the product that can show negligence, pictures or videos, similar products to compare the product to, etc. can all be used to build an effective case.

Documentation in a Product Liability Claim

Accurate and detailed documentation is one of the most key forms of evidence in any kind of case, let alone product liability. It can establish time frames, establish credibility, and provide detailed information to help support your claim.

Expert Witnesses can Help Your Claim

Having a witness with expert knowledge that can support your claim is one of the most essential parts of building up your case. Expert witnesses are witnesses that will probably not have seen the accident in question but will have specialized knowledge, experience, training, or education that can help build a case. Common expert witnesses include health care providers (doctors), medical specialists, accident re-constructionists, economists, and vocational rehabilitation experts.

Inadmissible Evidence

Not all evidence is able to be presented before a court. Certain circumstances can lead to a piece of evidence to be classified as admissible in court. Reasons a piece of evidence could be considered inadmissible can include: it was improperly obtained, it is prejudicial, it is hearsay, it is not relevant to the case, etc. In the case of the weedkiller lawsuit, the company that was sued wants an appeal because they believe that the evidence presented was used to incite the jury more than inform or support a case.

Presenting Scientific Evidence

Most of the previously mentioned kinds of evidence can come in the scientific variety. Most easily, expert witnesses since they usually are there to elaborate on something more scientific, but also physical evidence, documentation, and photographs can be shown with a more scientific perspective. Science itself aims to be objective and avoid bias as much as possible but when it enters the legal arena the lines can become a bit blurry. In order for scientific evidence to be admissible, it has to satisfy the regular evidence requirements mentioned before as well as come from a proven and respectable source that has been peer reviewed and supported by extensive study and research.

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. Contact us at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA's offices. Please 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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