Miller Firm was proud to achieve another historic victory against Roundup, helping our clients seek the justice they deserve.
Juries across the nation continue to deliver guilty verdicts against Monsanto, the company behind the household weed-killer Roundup. Most recently, an Oakland, CA jury ordered Monsanto to pay $2 billion in damages to our clients—a couple that developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using the herbicide.
Alva and Alberta Pilliod, 76 and 74 respectively, used Roundup for decades around their Northern California home. In 2011, Mr. Pilliod was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma—a form of cancer that starts in the white blood cells. While Alva’s diagnosis came as a devastating shock, the couple became suspicious when his wife, Alberta, was given the same diagnosis in 2015.
The Pilliods are not alone with their story. Hundreds of individuals and families have come forth to make claims against Monsanto. In fact, over 13,000 lawsuits have been filed against the company for failing to warn consumers about the cancer-risks associated with the herbicide.
Roundup has been one of the most popular backyard gardening staples for over 40 years. It has been used by both agriculture workers on the fields and private homeowners in their backyards. Alva and Alberta Pilliod were not alone in thinking that the product was safe for daily use. However, research soon raised several red flags about the week killer’s safety. Warnings that went completely ignored by Monsanto.
The Evidence Against Roundup
In the 1970s, Monsanto created and secured the patent for glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. This is the very ingredient that scientists are now claiming could be related to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Glyphosate has been under scrutiny for years due to its possible health risks. But nevertheless, Monsanto, and now Bayer AG (the company that purchased Monsanto last year), continued to deny any dangers.
In 2015, the World Health Organization took an official stance against Roundup. The WHO International Agency for Cancer Research stated that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” This declaration was the first of its kind by an international organization, and contradicted the Environmental Protection Agency’s position that “glyphosate is not a carcinogen.”
The public debate continues surrounding the dangers of glyphosate and whether or not Monsanto should have known the risks. Experts continue to research the product in order to determine the extent of malfeasance Monsanto and Bayer have committed over the years.
Despite mounting scientific research, Monsanto and Bayer continue to deny any liability or warn their consumer about the possible correlation between Roundup and cancer. This has sparked hundreds of class action lawsuits across the country—the first of which was won by Miller Firm in 2018.
Historic Precedents Pave the Way to Justice
In a historic $289 million verdict, Miller Firm secured the first-ever victory against Roundup. This high-profile case defended Lee Johnson, a groundskeeper who developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after prolonged exposure to Roundup. Although this verdict was later appealed and reduced to $78 million, it still set a historic precedent that paved the way for others like Alva and Alberta to seek justice.
The Pilliods’ own historic victory comes just two months after a San Francisco federal judge awarded another man, Edwin Hardman, $80 million after he developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma following 26 years of exposure to Roundup.
In court, our lawyers argued that a billion-dollar verdict would send a clear message to the chemical conglomerates. In the end, the jury supported a verdict of $2 billion dollars ($1 billion for each victim) to be paid to the couple in punitive damages. This amount was calculated based on Roundup’s annual profit—which amounted to nearly $900 million in 2017.
During the trial, the jury was shown internal documents that demonstrated Monsanto’s negligence. Nevertheless, the company maintains that the punitive verdict is unjustified and excessive.
In a public statement released by Bayer, the company expressed that they are “disappointed with the jury’s decision” and that they plan to appeal the verdict. “We have great sympathy for Mr. and Mrs. Pilliod,” the statement goes on to read, but they continue to maintain that glyphosate is not a carcinogen, and it was not the cause of Alva and Alberta’s cancer.
Alberta Pilliod: “We really resent Monsanto”
While justice was on Alva and Alberta’s side, the couple still struggling to recover from the damages inflicted by Monsanto. In a press conference shortly after the trial, Ms. Pilliod was quoted saying, “We can’t do the things we used to be able to do, and we really resent Monsanto for that.”
While the couple is currently in remission, their cancer could come back at any time. After being loyal Roundup customers for over 30 years, the couple feels like they were deceived by Monsanto.
Miller Firm LLC lawyer, Michael Miller, was quoted by the New York Times about the case, explaining that homeowners like the Pilliods are amongst the most vulnerable victims.
While professional gardeners and agriculture workers are regularly trained to use protective clothing and wear gloves when handling herbicides, homeowners are not instructed to take the same precautions. As a result, the Pilliods, along with countless other homeowners, likely put themselves at risk—unknowingly—by handling the weed killer in their day-to-day lives.
Sending a Clear Message to Monsanto
While the damage done by Roundup cannot be reversed, legal punch-backs like the $2 billion verdict in the Pilliods’ case send a clear message to Monsanto.
Since just last summer, Bayer’s stock has taken a huge beating—losing billions of dollars in company value. Not to mention, their shares have fallen around 40 percent since they purchased Monsanto last June.
As more and more individuals and families come out to file their claims against Monsanto, the company will be unable to continue to turn a blind eye to the dangers of Roundup.
Join the Fight Against Roundup
If you or someone you know has developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup, you could be entitled to legal compensation.
At Miller Firm, we’ve advocated for Roundup victims in some of the biggest cases against the herbicide to date. We spearheaded the first historic victory against the company in 2018 and have continued to fight for Roundup victims across the country. We were proud to support Lee, Alva and Alberta, and hope to continue helping homeowners, farmers, and agriculture works stand up to these corporate giants.
If you suspect that you or a loved one may have been a victim of Roundup, contact our legal team today.