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Supreme Court rejects Roundup maker’s appeal over cancer claims

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday handed down a multimillion-dollar verdict against the maker of popular weedkiller Roundup for failing to warn of cancer risks.

The judges’ decision not to intervene paves the way for thousands of similar lawsuits against Bayer. The Biden administration had urged the court to reject the company’s request, a departure from the Trump administration’s position.

In a statement Tuesday, the company said it disagreed with the court’s decision not to appeal and “believes that the vast body of science and the consistently supportive opinions of the world’s leading regulators entire provide a solid foundation upon which she can successfully defend Roundup in court if necessary.

The case was brought by Edwin Hardeman, who was diagnosed in 2015 with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He sued the company, alleging that his use of Roundup for more than two decades caused his cancer. He said the company did not warn of the cancer risks associated with the active ingredient glyphosate.

“It has been a long and difficult journey to bring justice to Mr. Hardeman and now thousands of other cancer victims can continue to hold Monsanto accountable for its decades of corporate wrongdoing,” said Hardeman attorneys Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff, in a statement. referring to the original producer of the herbicide, which was acquired by Bayer in 2018.

The Environmental Protection Agency has repeatedly concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans. California labeling laws are stricter. After an international research group classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” in 2015, the state required a warning label for glyphosate-based pesticides. The classification prompted a series of lawsuits against the maker of the nation’s most widely used weed killer.

An appeals court upheld a $25 million jury verdict and found that Hardeman’s exposure to Roundup was a “substantial factor” in his cancer and that the company failed to warn of the risks.

Court rejects Trump-era EPA’s conclusion that weedkiller is safe

The US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said federal law does not preclude a company’s requirement to include a cancer warning on its label. The court said a pesticide can be “mislabeled” even if the EPA has approved its label and a company can comply with federal and state labeling requirements.

Lawyers for the company urged the Supreme Court to overturn and pointed to previous rulings aimed at ensuring “national uniformity in pesticide labeling.” California and potentially 49 other states should not be able to “marginalize” EPA statements that glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer, they said.

The company noted that Hardeman stopped using Roundup in 2012, before the California label requirement.

In 2020, Bayer agreed to pay over $10 billion to settle tens of thousands of potential US claims. The company said the settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing and noted in its statement Tuesday that it had won its last four cases involving Roundup.

In addition, the company said it is discontinuing glyphosate-based residential lawn and garden products in the United States in favor of alternative ingredients to “manage the risk of litigation in the United States and not for safety reasons. “.

Last week, a separate 9th Circuit ruling ordered the EPA to reconsider its finding in 2020 that glyphosate poses “no unreasonable risk to humans or the environment.”

In a unanimous opinion, Judge Michelle Friedland wrote that the Trump-era findings “were not supported by substantial evidence” and failed to meet the agency’s legal obligations to review the impact. environmental. The opinion noted that the national area where glyphosate is used is roughly three times the size of California.

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