Hardeman v. Monsanto
Public Justice is defending the headline-generating $80 million verdict in this case against a Ninth Circuit appeal by Monsanto. The unanimous jury verdict found that 70-year-old plaintiff Ed Hardeman had developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after decades of using Monsanto’s weedkiller, Roundup, and that the company failed to warn customers of the cancer risk of their product. The case before the jury revealed that Monsanto was aware for decades of numerous studies that linked Roundup to cancer. Furthermore, the company sponsored the ghostwriting of multiple academic articles to mislead federal regulators and the public about the safety of Roundup.
Monsanto is appealing the ruling in this case on preemption grounds: specifically, that Mr. Hardeman’s failure-to-warn claims are preempted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approval, under the Federal Fungicide Insecticide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), of Roundup’s label and by the EPA’s recent statement that glyphosate—one Roundup’s ingredients—does not cause cancer.
Monsanto had previously moved for dismissal prior to the trial on the basis of the EPA’s approval of the Roundup label, but the court denied the motion, holding that under the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bates v. Dow Agrosciences, “the mere fact that the EPA has approved a product label does not prevent a jury from finding that that same label violates FIFRA.” The company is now relying EPA’s statement—made after the Hardeman verdict—that glyphosate is not a carcinogen and poses no risks to human health to have the verdict overturned on preemption grounds.
The Ninth Circuit’s decision in this case could have a significant impact on thousands of similar claims involving Roundup and other dangerous products. Public Justice’s involvement in this case is part of its on-going effort to stop wrongdoing corporations like Monsanto from blocking victims’ access to justice.
- Leslie Brueckner and Leah Nicholls
Aimee Wagstaff and David Wool; Andrus Wagstaff
Jennifer Moore; Moore Law Group