Judge may reduce $80 million damage award in Roundup cancer case


The judge in the nation’s first federal trial of a lawsuit by a cancer victim who used Monsanto’s Roundup weed-killer said Tuesday he intends to reduce the jury’s $80 million damage award, but would not entirely eliminate punitive damages for what he called the company’s “reprehensible” conduct.

While it still isn’t clear whether Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate, pose health hazards, evidence at the trial showed “Monsanto not really caring whether its products cause cancer,” U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said at a hearing in San Francisco.

When questions arose within the company about the product’s safety and a World Health Organization agency classified glyphosate in 2015 as a probable human carcinogen, he noted, Monsanto officials showed no interest in conducting new studies or reconsidering their public assurances to regulators or consumers.

But Chhabria showed no inclination to grant Monsanto’s request to overturn the jury’s March verdict that found the herbicide a likely cause of the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma with which Edwin Hardeman was diagnosed in 2015 after spraying Roundup on his property in Sonoma County for more than 26 years. After four years of chemotherapy and other treatment, doctors recently told Hardeman, 70, that his cancer was in remission.

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