Menu Close

Claims administrators who are evaluating possible subrogation in cancer cases filed by California farm workers who file claims for having been exposed to the weed killer Roundup, should take note of another Southern California favorable jury verdict by the parent company Bayer AG, the German pharmaceutical conglomerate that owns Monsanto the maker the product.

The jury found that Roundup did not cause a San Bernardino woman’s cancer on Thursday, adding another tally to the winner’s column for Bayer over claims that its signature herbicide is carcinogenic.

The plaintiff, Donnetta Stephens, of Yucaipa, California, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2017.  She argued that it was caused by 17 years of spraying Roundup twice a week in her yard. She sued Roundup maker Monsanto in 2020 for failing to warn her that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, could cause cancer.

But a jury decided that Roundup was not a substantial factor in Stephens’ diagnosis.

“The jury’s verdict in favor of the company brings this trial to a successful conclusion and is consistent with the evidence in this case that Roundup isn’t the cause of Ms. Stephens’ cancer. While we have great sympathy for Ms. Stephens, we agree with the jury that Roundup isn’t the cause of her illness,” a Bayer spokesperson said.

Stephens’ attorney, Fletch Trammell, told Reuters that he plans to appeal the judgment.

Wednesday’s verdict marks the second trial victory for Bayer, as a Los Angeles jury found in October that Roundup exposure did not cause 10 year-old Ezra Clark’s Burkitt’s lymphoma, a rare and aggressive form of pediatric cancer.

The first three trials were held in the Bay Area, where juries found in favor of the plaintiffs in every instance and awarded millions in damages.

The company hopes a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in a separate case will help put to rest yearslong litigation over the weedkiller. “The company continues to stand behind the safety of Roundup and will confidently defend the safety of our product as well as our good faith actions in any future litigation,” Bayer said.

Legal issues surrounding Roundup have prompted the company to set aside billions in provisions to settle cases.