Glyphosate on trial: California Supreme Court rejects request from Bayer to review first Roundup-cancer verdict

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Dewayne Johnson alleges Roundup exposure caused his cancer.

Bayer AG’s Monsanto Co. lost a bid for the California Supreme Court to review the first multimillion-dollar jury award to someone alleging the widely used pesticide Roundup caused their cancer.

The justices on [October 21] declined to review an appellate decision rejecting the chemical giant’s arguments that California school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson failed to establish company liability for his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

A San Francisco jury in 2018 awarded Johnson $289 million, an award that was later reduced to $78.6 million. The appeals court validated Johnson’s claim and reduced the award to $20.5 million. Johnson also asked the court to review the ruling, which now returns to the trial court.

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“We are unpersuaded by Monsanto’s argument that it could not be found liable under the consumer-expectations test because Johnson relied on the testimony of several experts,” the San Francisco-based appeal court’s July ruling said.

[Editor’s note: To learn more, read: Is glyphosate (Roundup) dangerous?]

Three appeals are pending in the Roundup litigation, including one scheduled for oral argument [October 23] in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit involving issues central to the Johnson case.

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The state appellate panel rejected the central argument Bayer is relying on to overturn verdicts in three California cases it’s appealing. The company claims the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reviewed and approved the Roundup warning label and that the suits ignored the agency’s authority.

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