The second phase of the bifurcated trial determining whether Monsanto should be held liable for the non-Hodgkins lymphoma suffered by a man after using the Monsanto product Roundup for decades has concluded. The culmination of the trial resulted in a jury award of over $5.6 million in compensatory damages and $200,000 for medical expenses to the plaintiff, and $75 million in punitive damages. The damages awarded are not only meant to compensate the plaintiff for the harm he suffered, but also to punish Monsanto for inappropriate conduct related to the product. While Bayer, the company that purchased Monsanto, issued a statement that it did not believe the subject case would impact future cases, the opposite is most likely true. Although each case must be assessed on its unique facts, it is probable that the subject case will have far-reaching effects on cases throughout the country in which it is alleged that Roundup caused a plaintiff’s harm, including Illinois toxic tort cases.
Evidence Presented in the Second Phase
While the first phase of the
was limited to determining whether glyphosate, the allegedly dangerous ingredient in Roundup, was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s non-Hodgkins lymphoma, in the second phase the parties presented evidence regarding damages. First, the plaintiff testified regarding the treatment he had to endure following his diagnosis of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and the pain and suffering his illness and the treatment caused. The plaintiff’s wife took the stand as well, offering testimony regarding the length of her relationship with the plaintiff and the detrimental effect of the plaintiff’s diagnosis on their life together. The plaintiff’s expert witness, a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of non-Hodgkins lymphoma testified as well. The compelling testimony offered regarding the hardship the plaintiff endured due to his illness was the basis for the $5.8 million compensatory damages and medical expenses award.
Additionally, testimony was presented from both sides regarding whether Monsanto acted appropriately in light of what it knew or should have known about the dangerous side-effects of glyphosate. Specifically, both parties presented testimony as to whether Monsanto acted maliciously in failing to warn of the dangers of using Roundup. Further, the plaintiff presented evidence that Monsanto used its influence to restrict government regulations on the product and to limit research on the