More than 11,000 individuals have filed lawsuits against Monsanto over its trademark Roundup weed killer, blaming the product for causing their cancer or the cancer of their loved ones. The outcome of the early rounds of litigation can signal potential settlement outcomes for others who have also suffered injuries. Those who suffer injuries because of defective products are often entitled to compensation. The attorneys at Rutter Mills are monitoring the status of the Roundup litigation to best inform clients with potential claims.
Value of Roundup cancer lawsuit settlements
After experiencing serious health problems like the cancer that Roundup claimants have alleged were caused by exposure to Roundup, others who have been harmed by the product naturally wonder what their outcome will be and what their case may be worth. Lawsuits more often than not end in settlement instead of going to trial, but the outcome of early trials can signal the likelihood of widespread settlements. The compensation available is broken into categories, which can then be affected by other factors unique to the individual case.
Damages available in Roundup lawsuit settlements
The damages available to Roundup claimants will be based on several categories of loss:
- Economic loss – These are the actual losses suffered by the plaintiff, which can be measured accurately in dollars. They include medical expenses (past and future), lost wages (past and future), rehabilitation, the cost of additional services that the plaintiff can no longer personally perform, and other concrete costs necessitated by the injury.
- Non-economic loss – These include losses that cannot be measured in strictly financial terms, such as pain and suffering, mental distress, and loss of consortium.
If a case goes to trial, there is also the possibility that a jury will award punitive damages, meant to punish the defendant for egregious behavior.
Factors affecting Roundup litigation settlements
The amount of individual settlements vary based on the factors to the case. These include:
- Seriousness of injury – A minor impairment will justify a different value than a major illness or injury. Prolonged need for medical care or serious impairment on quality of life will likely lead to a higher claim value.
- Overall impact – The daily and long-term impact that an illness or injury causes can impact the amount awarded as compensation.
- Location – Some geographic areas are known for being very plaintiff-friendly while other areas tend to be sympathetic to defendants. Local variations can influence how a jury would find in a given case.
- “Soft” factors – Subjective factors like personality, subtle signals of trustworthiness, and general likability of parties and witnesses can easily be overlooked for their ability to make or break a case.
Speak with a skilled product liability lawyer at Rutter Mills to get a better idea of what Roundup lawsuit settlement amounts might be realistic in your case.
Status of Roundup litigation
Roundup cases have not yet entered a phase of widespread settlements. In mass tort litigation, this usually happens after several cases have gone to trial, giving the parties some indication of the strengths and weaknesses of their cases and a realistic view of how juries view their arguments.
Several Roundup cases have now gone to trial, all resulting in victories for the claimants.
- In August 2018, the first Roundup case to head to trial led to a jury verdict in the amount of $290 million for Dewayne Johnson, a California groundskeeper who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2014. Included in the judgement was $250 million in punitive damages. However, Judge Suzanne Bolanos later ruled that the punitive damages were to be capped at $39 million to comply with state law, allowing Johnson to recover $79 million.
- In early March 2019, Edward Hardeman’s lawsuit against Monsanto went to trial. Like Johnson, Hardeman alleges that his use of Monsanto’s Roundup caused him to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The six members of the California jury that heard the case unanimously found that Roundup was a “substantial factor” in Hardeman’s development of cancer. The jury will determine in a second phase, to begin later in the month.
- An additional California case is expected to head to trial in March 2019. That Alameda County case is notable in that a husband and wife allege that they both developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma due to Roundup exposure.
Because Roundup lymphoma litigation takes place in multidistrict litigation rather than as a class action, no one verdict directly impacts the cases of other plaintiffs. However, the early cases can be a gauge of the strength of the evidence, influencing the outcome of settlement talks.
Discuss your case with a Roundup lawyer today
There are many variables that go into determining the value of a case. Developing a serious condition like non-Hodgkin lymphoma or another cancer can certainly lead to a substantial recovery amount. However, it is important to discuss your case with a toxic tort lawyer who can provide a more personalized analysis.
Rutter Mills takes personal injury claims seriously and we are currently investigating Roundup-related claims of cancer. If you believe you or a loved one were harmed by exposure to Roundup, please contact our offices for a free, private consultation. We are committed to fighting aggressively for the damages you deserve.