U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria issued a ruling late last week that will not overturn a jury’s verdict in favor Edwin Hardeman.
Hardeman claims years of using Roundup weed killer caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma. hile Judge Chhabria did not rule it was the cause, he did agree Roundup was sold without warning that it could impair one’s health significantly. Chhabria wrote:
“Mr. Hardeman presented no evidence that Roundup is inherently defective regardless of whether accompanied by a warning. He presented no expert testimony that Roundup could not be used safely with the proper precautions. And he made no argument to the jury that Roundup simply shouldn’t be on the shelves for residential use.”
Chhabria said failure-to-warn claim is why he did not overturn the verdict, writing, “Construed that way, there is no reason to overturn the jury’s verdict on the design defect claim. There was sufficient evidence to support a finding that Roundup is ‘defective’ within the meaning of California law when sold without a warning.”
He went on to say that, “If this court were incorrect in interpreting California law as permitting a design defect claim based on the absence of a warning, and if thus Mr. Hardeman’s only true path to victory on the design defect claim were the theory that Roundup should not have been sold for residential use at all, then judgment as a matter of law would be entered for Monsanto on the design defect claim.”
This past spring, a jury found Monsanto failed to warn Hardeman that Roundup is a carcinogenic and the company deliberately did not put such warnings on the label even though they knew of its potential harm.
Hardeman, 70, is now is now in remission. He was awarded $80 million in punitive and compensatory damages for past and future pain and suffering.
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About the Author: Aisha K. Staggers is a writer, lecturer, political analyst and literary agent. She appears weekly for “Staggers’ State of Things” on the Dr. Vibe Show. Her work has been published by Paper Magazine, AfroPunk, The Spool, GREY Journal, MTV News, HuffPost, Blavity, Atlanta Blackstar, For Harriet, New York Review of Books and a host of other first-run publications and syndicated outlets. Find her on Twitter @AishaStaggers. For more of her work, check out her page here!