Arguing that agrochemical company Monsanto has spent decades deceiving consumers about the dangers of its popular Roundup weed killer, attorneys for a California man living with cancer asked a federal jury Tuesday to award their client $18 million for his pain and suffering and enough in punitive damages to ensure the company acts ethically in the future.
“Nothing has stopped this company,” plaintiff’s attorney Jennifer Moore told jurors, adding that Monsanto cares only about profits. “You’ve got to warn – no more business as usual at Monsanto. Send that message loud and clear.”
The comment came during closing arguments in the second half of the high-stakes trial over the apparent carcinogenicity of Roundup – the most widely used herbicide in the world. After deciding in an initial trial phase that Roundup partly caused plaintiff Edwin Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the six-person jury must now decide whether Monsanto is liable for his illness and how much it must pay in damages if it is.
Monsanto, which German pharmaceutical company Bayer AG acquired last June, insists Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate are safe, citing hundreds of studies finding no link between them and non-Hodgkin lymphoma and determinations by regulators around the world that glyphosate doesn’t cause cancer.