A California jury on Monday, May 13, awarded over $2 billion to a husband and wife who claimed Monsanto’s popular weed killer Roundup—which contains herbicide glyphosate—likely caused their cancer. The monetary damages were twice the amount the plaintiffs’ lawyer had requested.
76-year-old Alva Pilloid and his wife, 74-year-old Alberta Pilloid, were both diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup to eradicate weeds on three properties they owned in Livermore, applying the herbicide once a week for nine months annually for over three decades. They sprayed an estimated 1,500 gallons of the weed killer, according to their attorney.
After deliberating for nearly two days, a jury in the Alameda County Superior Court voted 11-1 to find Monsanto liable for the couple’s cancers, surpassing the nine votes required in a civil case. Alva received $18 million and Alberta received $37 million for economic and noneconomic damages, while each party recovered $1 billion in punitive damages.
The jury unanimously believed the company should be punished for its failure to warn users of the dangerous herbicide. However, Monsanto denies Roundup is hazardous and that a warning is required.
This recent case is the largest payout for Monsanto, as well as the company’s third loss in lawsuits against Roundup. The Pilloid’s lawsuit was among the first of over 13,000 cases throughout the U.S. to reach the courtroom.
The first lawsuit to go to trial in 2018 was filed by a San Francisco groundskeeper named Dewayne Johnson. A California jury awarded him $290 million; however, the amount was later reduced to $78.5 million by the judge.
In March, Monsanto was ordered to pay $80 million to 70-year-old Edwin Hardeman, obtained cancer after using the herbicide for more than 30 years on 56 acres of his property in Sonoma County.