Costco quits selling Roundup

(July 22, 2019) Costco announced this summer that it will quit selling Roundup.  A Costco spokesperson announced May 29 that the company is not planning to sell Monsanto’s best-selling concoction this season. Some 12,000 Roundup lawsuits now plague the beleaguered chemical company.

Costco’s decision came shortly after Monsanto lost its third straight trial tying Roundup to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A Costco spokesperson announced: “Costco is constantly reviewing its (product) lineup, and is not planning to sell RoundUp this season.”

The announcement came closely on the heels of Monsanto’s latest trial loss over Roundup, a $2.055 million verdict for a couple who both developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma following years of Roundup exposure. Alva and Alberta Pilliod, a couple in their seventies, have both been diagnosed with lymphoma. Alva suffers from a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that has moved into his bones and spine. Alberta has brain cancer linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The decision not to carry RoundUp is not one that most giant box stores have followed. Home Depot, Walmart, Target, Kroger and others continue to sell Monsanto’s toxic pesticide despite the many Roundup lawsuits which followed cancer warnings issued by the World Health Organization. In 2015, the WHO declared that glyphosate – Roundup’s only listed active ingredient, despite much evidence that shows Roundup’s surfactants greatly increase the toxicity of the entire Roundup cocktail – is a “probable carcinogen. ” The WHO arrived at its conclusion after reviewing approximately 1000 independent studies, none of which were sponsored by Monsanto.

Retailers that sold people Roundup have not been named so far in the lawsuits against Monsanto, nor has the U.S. EPA, which regulates (if one can call it that) Roundup and glyphosate for consumer, commercial or agricultural use. So far, most Roundup lawsuit petitions have not named any of these peripheral parties in the more than 12,000 new lawsuits that have been filed to date against Bayer AG, which now owns Monsanto.

Curiously, the U.S. EPA first banned glyphosate more than 30 years ago, then inexplicably reversed its decision. Roundup remains on most shelves today despite the growing body of scientific evidence linking Roundup and lymphoma, along with Monsanto’s three huge legal losses over the product. The company is now 0-3 in Roundup cancer trials.

Meanwhile, Monsanto and Bayer AG continue to repeat their claim that “four decades of extensive science” prove Roundup is safe. Recent evidence suggests, however, that at least some of that “science” may have been forged. Unsealed documents released as part of another court case suggest Monsanto may have faked its own safety studies to produce its own corrupt science.

According to US Right to Know,the third Roundup-cancer case to go to trial  revealed several damning facts about Monsanto.  They include:

  • Monsanto spent millions of dollars to develop covert PR campaigns. The money financed ghostwritten studies and stories aimed at discrediting independent scientists whose work found Monsanto’s poison products were not as safe as Monsanto advertised them to be.
  • When the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry sought to evaluate glyphosate toxicity in 2015, Monsanto engaged the assistance of EPA officials to delay that review.
  • Monsanto enjoyed a close relationship with certain industry-compromised EPA officials who have repeatedly backed Monsanto assertions about the safety of its glyphosate products.
  • Monsanto’s internal worker safety recommendations called for wearing a full range of protective gear when applying glyphosate herbicides; but Monsanto failed to warn the public to do the same.
  • As part of the third trial, evidence showed Monsanto hired a corporate intelligence company “to take the temperature on current regulatory attitudes for glyphosate.” That company’s report indicated that a domestic policy advisor at the White House said: “We have Monsanto’s back on pesticides regulation. We are prepared to go toe-to-toe on any disputes they may have with, for example, the EU. Monsanto need not fear any additional regulation from this administration.”

Monsanto\EPA Collusion

Other shocking news also came out of the third trial against Monsanto: emails were released showing EPA officials may have colluded with Monsanto to help slow the release of the dangers of the pesticide from the public. EPA also fed Monsanto consistent updates.

So why does the EPA continue to allow the sale of Roundup?  Why do many retailers continuing to sell it, given glyphosate’s research-based link to genetic damageAlzheimer’s disease, and a wide range of other health issues that include ADHD, Alzheimer’s Disease, autism, birth defects, celiac disease, colitis, heart disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome, kidney disease, liver disease, Parkinson’s Disease?

Glyphosate Unsafe at any Dose

Another study released by the US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Education Fund, cites research that shows as little as 1 part per trillion of glyphosate can stimulate breast cancer and disrupt the body’s delicate hormonal system.

The Global Glyphosate Study found that the so-called “safe” amounts set by the EPA aren’t actually safe at all and are instead linked to microbiome imbalances and DNA damage. A microbiome is the sum of all the microbes in the body. It differs from person to person, creating a sort of microscopic “fingerprint.” While our understanding of microbiomes is still new and incomplete, an imbalanced microbiome may be a risk factor for many possible diseases.

Fourth Roundup Trial

The fourth Roundup cancer trial is slated for this fall in St. Louis, Monsanto’s hometown.

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Judge calls Monsanto “reprehensible,” refuses to toss Jury Verdict

 (July 16, 2019) Calling Monsanto “reprehensible” for concealing the cancerous hazards of Roundup, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria refused to toss out a jury verdict against the chemical giant this week.

Judge Chhabria oversaw the Roundup trial in which a jury, in March 2019, ordered Monsanto to pay Ed Hardeman $80 million.

Mr. Hardeman alleged in his 2016 lawsuit petition that he developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after spraying Roundup for 26 years around his 56-acre property. His northern California land included hiking trails dotted with poison oak, which Mr. Hardeman said he dosed heavily with Roundup. Then he woke one morning with a golf-ball sized lump on his neck, and was soon diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, around Christmas 2014.  Monsanto’s lawyers say he has been in remission for four years after taking chemo “therapy.”

In reviewing the case at Monsanto’s request, the judge did agree this week to reduce the $80 million verdict to $25 million. He said he found the punitive damages award “unreasonably high.” At the same time, Judge Chhabria said he agreed with the plaintiff’s side that the roughly $5 million in compensatory damages awarded to Ed Hardeman was sufficiently supported by the trial evidence. However, the judge called the jury’s $75 million punitive damages award against the Bayer AG unit “constitutionally impermissible.”

Judge: Monsanto’s Conduct Reprehensible

“The jury’s punitive damages award was approximately 15 times the size of the compensatory damages award,” said the judge. “Monsanto’s conduct, while reprehensible, does not warrant a ratio of that magnitude, particularly in the absence of evidence showing intentional concealment of a known or obvious safety risk.”

Judge Chhabria found that the $75 million in punitive damages exceeded the constitutional limit set by the due process clause which prohibits “grossly excessive” punitive damages. He reduced the punitive damages award to $20 million, which changed the total amount to around $25.3 million.

The California jury unanimously found Monsanto liable for failing to warn that glyphosate, Roundup’s only listed active ingredient, could cause cancer. The jury awarded Mr. Hardeman more than $80 million, shocking the chemical giant in the first federal bellwether trial.

Jury Unanimous over Failure to Warn, Negligence, Design Defect
After deliberating for a day, five women and one man found Monsanto liable on a failure-to-warn claim, a negligence claim, and a design defect claim. The six awarded Mr. Hardeman $200,967 in economic damages, roughly $5 million in future and past noneconomic damages, $75 million in punitive damages.

Bayer spokesperson Christopher Loder called Judge Chhabria’s decision to slash the punitive damages award a “step in the right direction.” Mr. Loder also repeated again Monsanto’s oft-repeated claim that the damage awards are not supported by “reliable evidence and conflict with both the weight of the extensive science that supports the safety of Roundup, and the conclusions of leading health regulators in the U.S. and around the world that glyphosate is not carcinogenic.” He also said that Bayer plans to file an appeal with the Ninth Circuit.

Judge rejects Monsanto Bid to Toss Jury Verdict

On July 12, Judge Chhabria denied Monsanto’s bid for a new trial. He said there was no reason to overturn the jury’s verdict on Mr. Hardeman’s design defect claim because sufficient evidence supported a finding that Roundup is defective under California law when sold without a warning.

The judge also rejected Monsanto’s argument that the jury saw an “inaccurate view” of the scientific and regulatory landscape around Roundup.

Judge: Monsanto limited Evidence, made its own bed
“This argument is fundamentally about the scope of the trial,” the judge said. “While Monsanto is correct that the jury wasn’t presented with the entire regulatory landscape, that is primarily a function of the evidentiary parameters Monsanto itself requested, and was largely granted, in response to motions in limine.”

Monsanto is also fighting two other huge trial losses over Roundup. Prior to Mr. Hardeman’s March 2019 verdict, an August 2018 trial resulted in a $289 million judgment against Monsanto for school groundskeeper DeWayne Johnson, a verdict later slashed to $78 million. In the third Roundup trial, in May 2019, a jury awarded a husband and wife a $2.055 billion verdict. Alva and Alberta Pilliods’ case is one of approximately 13,400 pending. Most are consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL Court) before Judge Chhabria.

Judge calls Monsanto “reprehensible,” refuses to toss Jury Verdict

The case is Hardeman v. Monsanto Co. et al., case number 3:16-cv-00525, and the MDL is In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, case number 3:16-md-02741, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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Monsanto Money Buys Science

(July 12, 2019) Monsanto money buys science. The embodiment of the way Monsanto works to buy whatever scientific “expert” opinions it needs is readily seen in the person of one Dr. Nina V. Federoff. This woman has been outed as a shameless industry shill by Stacy Malkan of U.S. Right to Know. Ms. Malkan’s exposé titled, “Nina Fedoroff: Mobilizing the authority of American science to back Monsanto” is an impressive piece of journalism in an age when good journalism grows increasingly rare. Most journalism simply does not pay well unless one writes for Monsanto or some other corporation that can afford to pay a shameless promoter like Henry I. Miller.

Ms. Malkan follows the money to show just how Dr. Federoff has, for years, served her Monsanto and GMO benefactors. The doctor does so by never divulging the fact that she has been rewarded in one form or another by Monsanto and other corporations of its ilk that promote the genetically modified (Read: genetically perverted) food industry.  For more on the subject, please see “Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives, based on a book of the same name by Jeffrey M. Smith.

Ms. Malkan demonstrates how Dr. Federoff has promoted chemical industry giants like Monsanto, as well as all things GMO, while posing as a disinterested third-party “expert.” Federoff has done her work for Monsanto – like the execrable Michael Taylor before her – not only by moving through the revolving door that runs between government “service” and industry employment, but also by posing as someone with a talent for the truth when it comes to Monsanto and genetically perverted food.

Dr. Federoff is a perfect example of all that is rancid and wrong in Washington D.C. She does her dirty work in the dark for an industry that makes its money by killing things, and she does it while pretending to work in the light as a disinterested third party. A principal factor in her duplicity is her failure to disclose her industry ties, her vested interest in promoting Monsanto and GMOs. She routinely pretends to operate independently of her corporate benefactors. She virtually never reveals who is paying her to promote (or defend) Monsanto and GMOs, but her ruse begins to unravel when every position she ever held has been nothing but a promotion for the chemical and GMO industries that poison the world with toxic pesticides like Roundup.

Using the AAAS to advance agrichemical industry policy objectives

As Ms. Malkan reports, during her 2011-2012 run as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and as Chair of the Board of Directors from 2012-2013, Dr. Fedoroff worked with agrichemical industry allies to advance key policy objectives. She worked to keep genetically engineered foods unlabeled. She worked to defeat a proposal by the U.S. EPA that would have required additional data on the health and environmental impacts of genetically engineered crops which are classified as pesticides. She wants us eating pesticides without our knowing it, wants us blindly eating without question or knowledge whatever her corporate benefactors choose to “produce.”

AAAS helped persuade voters to oppose GMO labeling

In 2012, the AAAS Board of Directors under Dr. Fedoroff’s chairmanship, moved to convince California voters to vote against GMO-food labeling. California’s Proposition 37 was a ballot initiative to label GMOs. A review of the many political statements made by AAAS found no other examples of the organization trying to influence voters ahead of a state election. The AAAS and Dr. Fedoroff refused to respond to USRTK requests for comment. USRTK works to promote labeling,which 90 percent of U.S. citizens polled have said they prefer.

The AAAS board’s statement opposing GMO labeling contained inaccuracies, according to longtime AAAS members. Several of them denounced the anti-labeling statement as a “paternalistic” attack on consumer rights that misled the public by omitting important scientific and regulatory context.

AAAS goes to Bat for Industry

Curious similarities appeared in language used by the AAAS and the industry-funded campaign to defeat Proposition 37. “Is a major science group stumping for Monsanto?” Michele Simon asked in Grist. Ms. Simon, noted Ms. Malkan, described the board’s statement as “non-scientific but very quote-worthy,” and noted that the accompanying AAAS press release contained “talking points” that matched No on 37 campaign literature.

AAAS Lack of Transparency

In a 2013 letter to Science magazine, another group of 11 scientists raised concerns that the AAAS board’s statement on GMO foods “could backfire.” They wrote, “we are concerned that AAA’s position represents a poorly informed approach to communicating science …  appearing to be less than transparent is a really bad idea for the scientific community.”

Dr. Fedoroff was an early supporter of the industry-backed “‘No’ on 37” campaign. She was listed on an industry website in June 2012 as one of four scientists representing the “scientific and academic community” who opposed GMO labeling. The industry campaign later asked Dr. Fedoroff to help recruit more academics to their cause, which she did, according to an October 1, 2012 email to Meghan Callahan of BCF Public Affairs.

Helped kill data requirements for pesticide-producing plants

While serving as AAAS president in 2011, Dr. Fedoroff worked with agrichemical industry allies and an industry lobbyist to stop the U.S. EPA from requiring companies to provide additional health and safety data for genetically engineered foods that are classified as pesticides. The USRTK web site presents detailed emails showing just how low Dr. Fedoroff was willing to go to please her corporate masters.

Please see Ms. Malkan’s entire US Right to Know story to see just how Dr. Fedoroff operates at the behest of Monsanto and others.  Her being outed by USRTK is one more nail in Monsanto’s coffin as it tries to continue fooling the public regarding its carcinogenic Roundup and its promotion of toxic GMO “food.”

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Fourth Roundup Trial set for Monsanto’s Hometown

(July 9, 2019) After losing the first three Roundup trials by decisive, unanimous jury verdicts in California, Monsanto is set to face its fourth Roundup trial next month in the company’s hometown. Whether Roundup cancer plaintiffs or Monsanto will enjoy any edge in a Roundup trial staged in St. Louis is an open question.

Which side has the edge in St. Louis?

Some may feel the plaintiff’s side has the edge in St. Louis. Unlike the three California trials, Monsanto employees can be forced to appear on the witness stand in the Missouri venue. In addition, recent legal history at the gateway to the West has seen several juries levy large verdicts against corporate defendants.

On the other hand, Monsanto has donated lots of (tax deductible) monies to local charities, and it may be difficult for the plaintiff’s side to find a juror in the area who either hasn’t worked for the chemical giant, or who doesn’t know a family member, friend, or acquaintance who has.

Plaintiff Sharlean Gordon

The plaintiff in the fourth trial is Sharlean Gordon, a cancer-stricken woman in her 50s. Her case – Gordon v. Monsanto – begins Aug. 19 in St. Louis County Circuit Court. The venue is located just a few miles from the St. Louis-area campus that long functioned as Monsanto’s world headquarters, until Bayer bought Monsanto in June 2018. Ms. Gordon’s case was filed in July 2017, in a petition that includes more than 75 plaintiffs. Hers is the first case in the first group in St. Louis to go to trial.

According to her lawsuit petition, Ms. Gordon purchased Roundup and used it for at least 15 continuous years, through approximately 2017. She was diagnosed with a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2006.  She has suffered two stem cell transplants, and, at one point in her treatment, spent a year in a nursing home. She is now so debilitated that it is difficult for her to walk or even  move at all.

Roundup-non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Link

Sharlean Gordon’s case — like that of some 12,000 others filed around the U.S. — alleges that using Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicides caused her to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Ms. Gordon’s lawyer called the evidence against Monsanto, along with the company’s conduct, “the most outrageous I’ve seen in my 30 years of doing this. (The) things that have gone on here, I want St. Louis juries to hear this stuff.”

Ms. Gordon’s trial will be followed by a September 9 jury trial also set for St. Louis County, in a case brought by plaintiffs Maurice Cohen and Burrell Lamb.

Monsanto 0-3 vs. Roundup Plaintiffs

The August and September trials follow a stunning $2 billion jury verdict decided against Monsanto on May 13, 2019. In that case, an Oakland, California jury awarded married couple Alva and Alberta Pilliod, who both suffer from cancer, $55 million in compensatory damages and $1 billion each in punitive damages.

Monsanto Covered Up Evidence

The Pilliod trial jury found that Monsanto has spent years covering up evidence that Roundup, along with its only listed active ingredient – glyphosate – cause cancer.

That latest ($2 Billion) verdict came just over a month after a San Francisco jury ordered Monsanto to pay $80 million in damages to Edwin Hardeman, who also developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after using Roundup. In the first Roundup trial last summer in San Francisco, a jury ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million to groundskeeper Dewayne “Lee” Johnson. Mr. Johnson was diagnosed with terminal cancer after he used Monsanto’s top-selling poisons in his school groundskeeper’s job.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers in the California cases were unable to compel Monsanto scientists and executives to testify because they had to travel more than 100 miles or out of the state where they live or work. In St. Louis, that dynamic changes dramatically. Plaintiffs’ attorneys in the St. Louis trials plan to subpoena several Monsanto scientists to appear on the witness stand to answer questions directly in front of a jury.

Monsanto / Bayer Investor Confidence Shattered

The three huge trial losses have left Monsanto and its German owner Bayer AG under heavy criticism from angry investors and shareholders. Monsanto’s unsettled investors have pushed share prices to their lowest levels in nearly seven years. Monsanto’s poison Roundup problems have erased more than 40 percent of Bayer’s market value.

Some angry investors are calling for Bayer CEO Werner Baumann’s head. Mr. Baumann pushed for Bayer’s Monsanto acquisition, which closed in June 2018 just as the first Roundup trial was starting.

Bayer maintains that no valid evidence proves a cancer causation link with Monsanto’s herbicides. Bayer says it believes it will win on appeal. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, however, has ordered Bayer to begin mediation talks aimed at potentially settling the sprawling mass of lawsuits that includes roughly 13,400 plaintiffs in the United States alone.

All the plaintiffs are cancer victims or family members of same. All allege Monsanto engaged in a plethora of deceptive tactics to hide the risks of its poison herbicides. Charges include Monsanto’s manipulating the scientific record with ghostwritten studies, colluding with regulators, using outside people and organizations to promote the safety of Monsanto products while making sure they appeared to be acting independently of the company.

Roundup Lawsuits in Canada

Meanwhile, the Roundup litigation that began in the U.S has crossed into Canada. A Saskatchewan farmer leads  a class action lawsuit against Bayer and Monsanto. His allegations mirror those brought in the U.S. lawsuits.

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Monsanto Manipulation Machine bared (or Bayered)

(June 4, 2019) The Monsanto manipulation machine has been bared (or shall we say, Bayered) by Carey Gilliam and several other journalists the company has attacked for questioning the safety of Monsanto’s products.  Internal company emails and documents reveal an elaborate campaign to attack independent journalists who have uncovered Monsanto’s endless campaigns to fool the public about the nature and safety of pesticides like Roundup and the company’s genetically-modified “food.” The document trail shows how Monsanto attacks some journalists and manipulates others. It all depends on whether those individuals report the truth of Roundup’s fraudulent acceptance by the EPA and the weed killer’s links to cancer, or whether they help Monsanto maintain its captured-regulatory cloak of legitimacy and the alleged indispensability of the company’s poison products.

Monsanto Misinformation Unmasked

Monsanto has been unmasked in the Roundup cancer litigation as a master purveyor of misinformation and propaganda.  Independent journalists such as Carey Gilliam and others have discovered that Monsanto has set up several entities it disguises as “objective” organizations comprised of professional “experts” or academic “scientists.” The company creates these cutouts to pose as purveyors of truth in a narrative they sell as a world gone mad with “lawyer-driven litigation.”

Roundup Lawsuits plague Monsanto

Roundup cancer lawsuits now plague Monsanto like its Roundup-generated super weeds plague more and more farm fields. More than 13,400 suits have been filed so far. The company’s response to its trouble is the same in the media as it is in the fields – to throw more poison at it. Or in the case of the Roundup information war, to spread ever-increasing amounts of vitriol.

And when that approach fails, as it has repeatedly in every Roundup cancer trial so far, Monsanto moves to just flat-out lie, to tell the people and the judges trying the cases that the science is proven, that hundreds of  legitimate, worthwhile studies show Roundup is safe, that all the world’s regulatory agencies agree that Roundup is safe and doesn’t cause cancer, with the outlier exception of the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

And then this company has the gall to again and again lean on the U.S. EPA’s failure to identify Roundup as a probable carcinogen. It leans on the EPA even when internal emails from key employees of that agency have been outed as all but colluding with Monsanto to stifle safety testing. And then add in the fact that the EPA first green-lighted Roundup on the basis of studies done by a company convicted of fraud for promoting phony studies. Monsanto has built a house of cards, and the wind is blowing toward Missouri.
Three Juries, Three Unanimous Verdicts against Monsanto

All of Monsanto’s propaganda may play well with the company’s friends in Washington D.C. and with the unawares public, but people who have seen real evidence have danced to a different tune than the off-key repetition of Monsanto’s Roundup defense. All three juries in the three Roundup-cancer trials so far have ruled unanimously that Monsanto’s best-selling weed killer Roundup causes cancer. Those juries have all done so despite a massive undertaking by Monsanto to attack  journalists and scientists who question Roundup’s safety profile, while leading and/or rewarding those who help defend the company.

Over the past year, evidence of Monsanto’s deceptive efforts to defend the safety of its top-selling Roundup herbicide has been bared for all to see. Through the three civil trials – one in federal and two in state courts –public release of Monsanto’s internal communications has revealed conduct that all three juries have found so unethical as to warrant large punitive damage awards.

Monsanto Ghostwriting, Regulator Collusion, Media Manipulation

Internal emails have shown how Monsanto scientists casually discuss ghostwriting scientific papers and suppressing any science that contradicts the company’s strident defense of Roundup. Internal documents have also revealed cozy relationships with regulators that suggest collusion.

These documents – which Monsanto fought hard to keep confidential – also give a taste of  Monsanto’s media deceptions, beyond the company’s now well-known policy of manipulating science and regulators. Carey Gilliam of U.S. Right to Know reports that the documents show Monsanto’s most insidious deceit yet may be its strategic manipulation of the media.

Monanto Consultant poses as Reporter

Ms. Gilliam writes, “We recently learned that a young woman falsely posing as a freelance BBC reporter at one of the Roundup cancer trials was in fact a ‘reputation management’ consultant for FTI Consulting, whose clients include Monsanto. The woman spent time with journalists who were covering the Hardeman v Monsanto trial in San Francisco, pretending to do reporting while also suggesting to the real reporters certain storylines or points that favored Monsanto.”

Monsanto publishes “Objective” Academics Review

Monsanto enlisted Reuters, a mainstream publication, to manufacture a story which attacked a member of the IARC which declared Roundup a probably carcinogen in 2015. According to Carey Gilliam, a Reuters reporter for 17 years, Monsanto used an organization called Academics Review to publish two scathing articles about Ms. Gilliam’s work at Reuters when she wrote about Monsanto’s GMO crops and Roundup. Monsanto complained that the reporter should not be including the views of Monsanto’s critics.  Academics Review trumpeted those complaints under the guise of being an independent association.

Internal Monsanto documents show Academics Review is the brainchild of Monsanto. It was designed to respond to “scientific concerns and allegations” while “keeping Monsanto in the background so as not to harm the credibility of the information,” as Ms.Gilliam noted that one November 2010 email from Monsanto executive Eric Sachs stated. According to a March 11, 2010 email chain, Academics Review was established with the help of a former director of corporate communications at Monsanto who set up his own public relations shop and a former vice president of a biotech industry trade association of which Monsanto was a member.

Monsanto’s American Council on Science and Health

Monsanto also likes to point to the American Council on Science and Health as an arbiter of Roundup evidence and all things GMO, but ACSH is anything but a disinterested party. Internal documents show Monsanto money and marching orders behind the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH). This entity absurdly claims to be independent of industry while it publishes articles attacking journalists and scientists whose work contradicts Monsanto’s agenda. And the crying shame is that sham articles written by Monsanto’s ACSH have appeared in USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes.

Ms. Gilliam writes:  “ACSH has published several articles aimed at discrediting not just me but also Pulitzer-prize-winning New York Times reporter Eric Lipton, who ACSH calls a “science birther”, and former New York Times reporter Stephanie Strom, who ACSH accused of “irresponsible journalism” shortly before she left the paper. Both reporters had written articles exposing concerns about Monsanto. The New York Times’ Danny Hakim has also been targeted by ACSH for writing about Monsanto. “Danny Hakim Is Lying To You,” reads one of several posts by ACSH about Hakim.”

Internal Monsanto emails show ACSH seeking and receiving financial commitments from Monsanto. One email string from 2015 between the company and ACSH details the “unrestricted” financial support ACSH desires while laying out the “impacts” across social media ACSH is achieving. “Each and every day we work hard to prove our worth to companies like Monsanto…” the ACSH email states. A separate email chain among Monsanto executives states “You WILL NOT GET A BETTER VALUE FOR YOUR DOLLAR than ACSH.”

Monsanto Manipulation Machine bared (or Bayered)

How legitimate are publications like USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes when they are willing to not only conceal Monsanto’s ties to dummy organizations like ACSH, but also  to help promote the same myths Monsanto writes about itself in publications across the world?  Judges and juries are figuring this company out. If they can wade through the well-paid-for propaganda Monsanto continues to unleash in mainstream publications, the rest of the country will eventually figure it all out, too.

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Roundup Cocktail threatens Monsanto

The Roundup cocktail that has killed living things for decades now threatens its Monsanto creator.  One is reminded of Macbeth’s pausing to consider the fallout before he murders Duncan: “That we but teach bloody instructions which, being taught, return to plague the inventor.”  Monsanto has taught a lot of bloody instructions through the years, all over the world. And now the company that kills for a living may fast be approaching its day of reckoning, despite whatever its well-paid lawyers and executives endlessly repeat about jury appeals as the company loses each new trial in spectacular fashion.

Or consider a Frankenstein metaphor – Monsanto as mad scientist creating an ugly monster that destroys its creator. All metaphors break down on close inspection, but this one might not be hyperbole, given the enormous verdicts against Monsanto that Roundup has wrought so far.  What seemed unthinkable just six months or a year ago is now eminently thinkable: The toxic Roundup cocktail may yet destroy its creator. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Bayer is worth less now than the $63 billion it paid for Monsanto about a year ago.

The WSJ wrote on Monday, May 20, 2019:

“Bayer’s market capitalization has shrunk by more than 40% to roughly $59.13 billion. Worried that liabilities from the weedkiller are going to rise, investors have abandoned the stock, sending the shares into a downward spiral.”

Monsanto loses a third Roundup Trial, now 0-3 against Roundup Users

The latest Roundup trial – which brought a staggering $2 Billion verdict against Monsanto – has revealed to the world the glaring EPA loophole which allowed Monsanto to unleash Roundup on the world. It is a loophole that was clearly designed by chemical industry executives working through  back doors with “our” government regulators.  It was clearly not designed by regulators working first and foremost with the health of the public, the birds, bees, animals, and the land in mind. This glaring loophole has helped corporations escape liability in most environmental or product liability cases for many decades.

The Glyphosate Loophole

The regulatory loophole is so large and glaring that it is difficult to imagine it being allowed by any sane agency, government, or people. This loophole allows a company to list and test for safety only whatever that company decides to call an “active ingredient.” Roundup, as well as virtually any pesticide or poison you can think of (including the fluorosilicic acid dumped into most of the nation’s drinking water), has a twisted and tortured regulatory history.  In the case of Roundup, Monsanto was allowed to tell the EPA that glyphosate is its only active ingredient, and that the others were virtually irrelevant. The company had gotten away with that ruse – using a see-no-evil, speak-no-evil, hear-no-evil EPA – since the 1970s. All that has finally changed with the Roundup trials. The world is apparently waking up as juries are finally being allowed to hear the truth. The EPA classifies an ingredient as “inert” if it does not do the actual weed-killing, but that classification doesn’t mean the ingredient is not relevant, or doesn’t make the entire cocktail more toxic.

Inert Ingredients Matter

The obvious truth is that ALL the ingredients in a given toxic cocktail matter. The truth is that a company’s calling an ingredient “inert” doesn’t necessarily make it so. That’s what three juries have discovered as Monsanto has lost all three trials over Roundup so far – for $289 million, $80 million, and $2 billion. Monsanto has lost those trials principally because all three juries have been able to hear evidence of how the entire toxic cocktail called Roundup is at least 50x more toxic than glyphosate alone. (Who’d have thunk it? Not the US EPA, which still backs Monsanto.)  As the Pilliods’ lawyer put it before the jury which reached the $2.06 billion verdict, Roundup isn’t just glyphosate. It includes other “highly more toxic” components that “have a synergistic effect with glyphosate.”

University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias noted: “The trial judge let in a lot more in the third trial than [was let in] in the first two.  (It) seems like they heard more, and more of it was bad.”

Roundup Ingredient banned in Europe

Mr. Tobias noted that Alameda Superior Court Judge Winifred could again allow plaintiffs to reveal to the jury that a surfactant in the toxic Roundup cocktail, polyoxyethylene tallow amine, known as POEA, is banned in Europe.  POEA helps the Roundup liquid spread across leaves’ waxy surfaces and coat them instead of beading up. The Pilliod case jury was the first to learn of the European ban.  Just as it coats living plants, Roundup coats the human skin in similar fashion, then leeches into the bones and the lymph, where it triggers non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Just as the plants are unable to uptake vitamins and minerals to keep them alive after Roundup surfactants attach and attack, eating Roundup-contaminated GMO food attacks the human gut and damages its ability to uptake needed nutrients.

(Many obese and even morbidly obese people are sadly living nutrient-deprived lives as a result.  No matter how much they eat, they are sadly always hungry because their bodies are unable to uptake vital nutrients.)

Monsanto Rebuttal

Monanto’s lawyers’ rebuttal at trial was to claim that dozens of studies were done on surfactants and that they were all found safe. What entities performed those studies, what company paid for them, and how they were designed were all questions that came up in court and were tackled by the plaintiff’s side. Again and again plaintiffs showed in all three trials that Monsanto paid for virtually all of the studies which suggest Roundup might be safe to use. Monsanto lawyers, meanwhile, repeated over and over that hundreds of studies have shown glyophosate is safe, though virtually all of those studies were done by Monsanto or were paid for my Monsanto, or were done by scientists or researchers with vested interests in Monsanto.

The Pilliods’ lead attorney Brent Wisner told the jury that Monsanto knew for a long time that combining glyphosate with the surfactant is more genotoxic and has a “synergistic effect.” He said Monsanto knew as much as early as 2000, that the company had heard it from a consultant whose findings Monsanto then dismissed for not helping support the company.

Internal Monsanto emails showed Monsanto religiously avoided switching to a known safer surfactant in the U.S. for fear that the change would look like an acknowledgement that Roundup  was dangerous.  Switching would have alerted the world, leading to Roundup bans everywhere, and it might have led to the exact types of lawsuits the company now finds itself fighting.

Monsanto claimed the change in Roundup’s European formula was for “market tastes.”  The jury clearly didn’t buy it.

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Monsanto Black Ops revealed

Bayer begins internal investigation as law enforcement investigates. 

(May 17, 2019)  Monsanto has for at least a decade made “hit lists” of people it considers enemies, including select journalists, lawmakers, regulators, and scientists. Monsanto has targeted those people for blowing the whistle on the corporation’s poison practices, or for otherwise questioning or opposing the GMO agenda, the centerpiece of which is Monsanto’s toxic glyphosate weed killer chemicals. The company has now lost three straight trials for failing to warn Roundup users that it raises the risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Awards of $289 million, $80 million, and $2 billion have been delivered by three juries, which all voted unanimously against Monsanto.

What’s at Stake for Monsanto

A Monsanto-made carcinogen, glyphosate – the main active ingredient listed in Roundup – now contaminates much of the world’s food supply, as well as the water, air, and soil that sustains us all.  Worldwide glyphosate contamination represents enormous potential liability for Monsanto, enough to destroy the poison giant altogether.  According to Natural News’ founder Mike Adams, anyone who has opposed Monsanto may have been subjected to one or more of the following dirty tactics:

  • Attempted bribery
  • Death threats and intimidation
  • Character assassination through well-funded “negative P.R.” campaigns
  • Defamation via coordinated Wikipedia attacks run by Monsanto operatives
  • Career destruction, such as getting scientists blacklisted from science journals
  • Being “doxxed” – having their home addresses publicized and their families and co-workers threatened

Monsanto has long been targeting Mike Adams and many others through what intelligence operatives call a “black ops” division. For more than ten years, Monsanto has spent perhaps $100 million or more, according to Mr. Adams, in coordinated efforts to silence, destroy, or character-assassinate anyone who has interfered or publicly questioned Monsanto’s market dominance and worldwide propaganda.

Now, at last, the criminal activity that Monsanto has carried out for years is finally being exposed, as law enforcement closes in on the crimes of the biotech bully now owned by Bayer.  According to Mr. Adams, Bayer appears to at least be making an effort to “clean house” and end Monsanto’s targeting of journalists, lawmakers, scientists (like Gilles-Eric Seralini), and regulators (like members of the International Agency for Research on Cancer) with intimidation and bribery campaigns.

Law enforcement prepares criminal charges against Monsanto operatives

“French prosecutors said on Friday they had opened an inquiry after newspaper Le Monde filed a complaint alleging that Monsanto – acquired by Bayer for $63 billion last year – had kept a file of 200 names, including journalists and lawmakers in hopes of influencing their positions on pesticides,” Reuters reported.

This “hit list” of journalists and lawmakers was directly translated into action to intimidate, threaten, or bribe these individuals. Mr. Adams claims this criminal behavior also occurs in the US and he has been a victim of it.  He reports that a Monsanto spokesperson now confirms Monsanto used the list to take out anyone standing in the way of the Monsanto agenda:

“There have been a number of cases where – as they would say in football – not the ball was played but the man, or woman, was tackled,” Matthias Berninger admitted to to Reuters. Mr. Berninger acts as “head of public affairs and sustainability” for Monsanto.

In his statement, Mr. Berninger also admits Monsanto collected “non-publicity available data about individuals,” and then issued an apology from Bayer for the activity.

Related: France bans Glyphosate

Bayer Apologizes over Monsanto Black Ops “Initiative”

“Following an initial review, we understand that this initiative has raised concerns and criticism,” said Bayer in a May 12th public statement. “This is not the way Bayer seeks dialogue with society and stakeholders. We apologize for this behavior.”

Monsanto Character Assassination Teams

Mr. Adams states that Natural News can reveal Monsanto hired black ops teams and private investigators to dig up the personal locations of individuals and their families. The company  then engaged in activities to threaten and intimidate those individuals while publicly smearing them online through coordinated, well-funded character assassination campaigns.

Mike Adams, who operates more than half a dozen web sites dealing with Monsanto and the GMO agenda, believes he has been “personally hunted by Monsanto-funded black ops teams who intended to destroy my credibility and physically harm my person in order to silence my public criticism of Monsanto and end the publishing of MonsantoMafia.comGMO.newsGlyphosate.news and the dozens of other websites that Monsanto did not want to see published.”

Mr. Adams has also been targeted by google, which has both de-listed and re-listed his web site at various times, and by YouTube, which disappeared his channel along with his more than 350,000 followers as part of a crackdown on what Google and YouTube have called “fake news.”

Mr. Adams stated on his web site: “This is a rare opportunity for Bayer to hear directly from the victims of the Monsanto ‘black ops’ division that Bayer likely was not aware it was acquiring when it purchased Monsanto, since the entire division operated in secret and relied on internal corporate money laundering to obfuscate its operations.”

Monsanto Black Ops revealed

The Texas-based “Health Ranger” has invited Bayer’s attorneys to contact him through his public contact page.  He said his attorneys are also contacting Bayer’s legal team to initiate discussions. Mr. Adams also notes that “The Food Babe,” Jeffrey Smith, and some 20 others in the independent media were targeted by Monsanto. If the LeMonde article about Monsanto targeting some 200 journalists in France is even close to being an accurate number, it’s not too far fetched to think that at least 20 journalists have been targeted by Monsanto in America. If Monsanto’s products are so harmless and so helpful, as the company says, if Monsanto is  producing something that people need, why does the company work so hard to propagandize the public and threaten those who exercise their free speech rights?

Stay tuned. . .

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Monsanto loses $2B Verdict in Third Roundup Trial

Married Couple both have Lymphoma

(May 13, 2019) Monsanto lost the third Roundup trial in dramatic fashion today when a California jury found that the company’s Roundup likely caused a married couple to both develop a similar cancer. The jury awarded the two $2.055 billion in damages. It was Monsanto’s third straight loss in three trials. Some 13,400 Roundup cancer lawsuits are still pending against Monsanto. All the cases allege that Roundup causes cancer.

The jury of five women and seven men deliberated for nearly two days before finding that Roundup was a significant contributing factor in causing Alva and Alberta Pilliod to develop a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The jury awarded the pair $55 million in non-economic and economic damages, then hit Monsanto with $1 billion in punitive damages for each person.

Punitive Damages

In ordering punitive damages, the jury had to find that Monsanto “engaged in conduct with malice, oppression or fraud committed by one or more officers, directors or managing agents of Monsanto” acting on behalf of Monsanto.  The total of $2.055 billion doubled what the plaintiffs’ attorney suggested in his closing arguments.

During the five-week trial, the Pilliods’ claimed that decades of spraying Roundup on their four properties gave them both diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.  Alva Pilliod was diagnosed with DLBCL in 2011. His wife Alberta was diagnosed in 2015 with a type of DLBCL called primary central nervous system lymphoma.

The jury heard testimony from competing oncologists, pathologists and toxicologists from each side. Different experts gave different opinions over Roundup’s skin absorption rates and the science regarding claims that Roundup causes cancer.

The Pilliods’ experts pointed to animal studies, mechanistic data and epidemiological data that showed glyphosate is genotoxic, or DNA damaging. They offered evidence that Roundup causes oxidative stress which can cause cancer mutations. They also cited the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s 2015 finding that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen.

Glyphosate vs. Roundup
The Pilliods’ expert toxicologist, Dr. William Sawyer, testified that Monsanto made glyphosate 50 times more toxic by selling its Roundup formula with polyethoxylated tallow amine – or POEA –a surfactant banned in Europe. Dr. Sawyer explained that the surfactants allow glyphosate to easily penetrate the skin, just as they are designed to penetrate plants.

Dr. Sawyer said the body stores POEA under the skin for days and delivers glyphosate doses to the bones, where lymphoma starts. He also accused Monsanto of manipulating its absorption studies by heating and then freezing skin samples before testing them, a process which leads to skewed results.

US EPA used Fraudulent Data
Other experts called by the Pilliods testified that the U.S EPA approved Roundup in the 1970s using fraudulent studies. Industrial Bio-Test Laboratories, which was convicted of fraud, performed the studies later proved to be fraudulent, but EPA allowed the ruse to continue anyway. They said Monsanto kept selling Roundup even after the fraud was exposed, and refused for decades to conduct certain studies of its own Roundup formula, despite requests from the EPA and its own toxicologist.

The Pilliods’ counsel also argued in closing that Monsanto spent decades suppressing science linking its products to cancer by ghostwriting academic articles and feeding the EPA “bad science.”  He asked the jury to “punish” Monsanto with a $1 billion punitive damages award.

Carey Gilliam of U.S. Right To Know reported that the trial showed:

* Monsanto never conducted epidemiology studies for Roundup and its other formulations made with glyphosate to evaluate users’ cancer risks.

* Monsanto was aware surfactants in Roundup were much more toxic than glyphosate alone.

* Monsanto spent millions of dollars on covert public relations campaigns to finance ghostwritten studies and articles aimed at discrediting independent scientists whose work found dangers with Monsanto’s herbicides.

* When the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry sought to evaluate glyphosate toxicity in 2015, Monsanto engaged the assistance of EPA officials to delay that review.

* Monsanto enjoyed a close relationship with certain EPA officials who repeatedly backed Monsanto’s assertions about glyphosate’s alleged safety.

* Monsanto’s worker safety recommendations called for wearing a load of protective gear when using glyphosate but did not warn the public to do the same.

Monsanto Rebuttal

Monsanto’s experts argued that the epidemiological data put forward by the decades-long Agricultural Health Study shows that glyphosate doesn’t pose a cancer risk. Monsanto lawyers argued that several regulatory agencies around the world, including the US EPA, Health Canada, and the Australian government have repeatedly concluded Roundup doesn’t pose a cancer risk. They also noted that the rate of non-Hodgkin lymphoma has plateaued over the past two decades, while Roundup use has increased. They argued that if the plaintiffs’ side were correct in alleging that Roundup caused the Pilliods’ cancer, NHL rates should coincide with the rise in Roundup’s ubiquitous blanketing of the earth.

Monsanto loses $2B Verdict in Third Roundup Trial

The California jury found Monsanto liable for failure to warn claims, design defect claims, negligence claims, and negligent failure to warn claims. They awarded the Pilliods’ $52 million in non-economic damages and $3.2 million in economic damages, along with a combined $2 billion in punitive damages.

The Pilliods’ trial began March 28, one day after a separate California federal jury ordered Monsanto to pay a California man $80 million after it agreed that Roundup exposure caused him to develop NHL. The first Roundup cancer trial concluded in August 2018 when a San Francisco jury in state court awarded a former school groundskeeper $289 million verdict that was later reduced – over the jury’s repeated objections – to $78 million. Monsanto has also appealed that reduced award.

The case is Pilliod v. Monsanto Co., case number RG17862702, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Alameda.

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Third Roundup Case Jury told to punish Monsanto with $1B Verdict

(May 9, 2019)  The thirdB Verdict"> jury to hear a Roundup case this year was told by the plaintiffs’ attorney yesterday to punish Monsanto with a $1 billion verdict.  In the five-week-long trial which wrapped yesterday after closing arguments, an attorney for Alva and Alberta Pilliod told the jury that Monsanto needed to be punished for misleading the couple and the world about the dangers of Roundup. Both Alva and Alberta Pilliod developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after decades of using Monsanto’s Roundup. Their attorney said Roundup caused them to develop NHL; Monsanto’s attorneys argued that it had not.

The Pilliods’ attorney told the jury they should find that Monsanto failed to warn his clients of Roundup’s cancer risks, and award them $1 billion in punitive damages and $55 million in combined economic and noneconomic damages. He said that if the Pilliods had known Roundup could cause cancer, they would have never touched it.  He argued that the jury needs to send Monsanto a message.

The Pilliods’ case is the third to go to trial out of 13,400 lawsuits pending that allege Roundup causes cancer. Their trial began March 28, a day after a separate California federal jury handed down an $80 million verdict against Monsanto in favor of Ed Hardeman.

The first trial concluded in August 2019 when a state jury in San Francisco awarded former school groundskeeper DeWayne “Lee” Johnson a $289 million verdict against Monsanto.  A state judge later slashed the verdict to $78 million, despite multiple pleas from the jurors to leave their full award in place.  Monsanto has also appealed that entire verdict

On May 8, closing arguments in the Pilliods’ trial drew a crowd of people into the small state courtroom, including DeWayne Johnson, Bobby Kennedy, Jr., Oliver Stone, and a juror from Mr. Johnson’s trial.

Roundup Born in Fraud
In the Pilliods’ closing argument, their attorney Brent Wisner described decades of Monsanto executives’ attempts to cover up or suppress science that linked Roundup to cancer. He said the weedkiller was “born in fraud,” because the U.S. EPA approved it in 1974 based on fraudulent studies conducted by Industrial Bio-Test Laboratories.  The EPA discovered the lab’s fraudulent work in 1976, but Monsanto was nevertheless allowed to keep Roundup on the market. Monsanto also repeatedly refused to conduct certain cancer studies in the 1980s and 1990s even after the EPA and its own toxicologist told Monsanto it needed to conduct those tests.

Monsanto spent years, meanwhile, trying to manipulate the scientific literature by ghostwriting academic articles while also feeding the EPA those same articles and others based on “bad science,” according to Mr. Wisner.

The Pilliods’ attorney said Monsanto executives also adopted a corporate strategy to combat the finding of the International Agency for Research on Cancer on Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate. The IARC concluded that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen in 2015, and Mr. Wisner reminded the jury that they had seen evidence of how Monsanto was moving to discredit the IARC even before the scientists had issued their finding.

US EPA captured by Industry
Mr. Wisner said Monsanto’s “bad science” included the fraudulent Industrial Bio-Test studies as well as the ghostwritten studies that “permeate” scientific literature today. He said the EPA is still citing those studies in its findings because the government has been captured by the industry. He also argued that Monsanto continued to sell Roundup with polyethoxylated tallow amine (POEA), a surfactant that makes glyphosate 50 times more toxic than glyphosate alone and is banned in Europe.

Roundup/Glyphosate and Lymphoma
Meanwhile, said Mr. Wisner, Monsanto refused to conduct cancer tests on Roundup and ignored studies showing it is easily absorbed through the skin, stored, then transported to the bones where lymphoma develops.

Mr. Wisner also argued that not one of Monsanto’s experts in this trial was an expert on chemicals that cause cancer.  He said they focused only on epidemiological data, and ignored animal studies and mechanistic data showing Roundup’s cancer links.

Monsanto Rebuttal – A Lawyer’s Charade

Monsanto’s attorney said during closing that the Pilliods shouldn’t be awarded anything. He said Mr. Wisner had performed a “charade” in a “rehearsed routine” in front of the jury with the plaintiffs’ toxicologist Dr. William Sawyer. He said Dr. Sawyer is a seasoned expert who has testified in 300 cases.  The Monsanto attorney said that during Dr. Sawyer’s testimony, Mr. Wisner and Dr. Sawyer planned an exchange in which the expert warned the lawyer to wear gloves when he picked up an open Roundup bottle, even though they both knew it contained only water. Monsanto’s attorney said the stunt was meant to mislead the jury about Roundup’s danger. He said the men disrespected the jury’s intelligence and the justice system.

Monsanto’s attorney also argued that Mr. Wisner and the Pilliods’ experts gave “wildly misleading” Roundup exposure estimates throughout the trial. He said Roundup doses given mice in cancer studies were 2 million times more Roundup than what the Pilliods had been exposed to.

In reality, argued Monsanto’s attorney, the couple both had years of health issues and a lengthy smoking history that together weakened their immune systems and put them at a higher risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He noted that Alva Pilliod had 22 instances of skin cancer since the 1970s, five brain infections from the herpes virus, and genital warts. He said Alberta Pilliod had Hoshimoto’s disease and bladder cancer.

Monsanto’s lawyer argued that Roundup is safe to use. He said multiple regulatory agencies around the world, including Health Canada, the U.S. EPA and the Australian government have repeatedly concluded that Roundup doesn’t pose a cancer risk. He said the Pilliods are asking the jury to “throw out” 40 years of EPA findings.

The Monsanto attorney also said the Pilliods’ case doesn’t meet the heightened burden of proof to warrant a punitive damages award. He admitted that some of the language in Monsanto’s internal emails “probably” didn’t use the right phrases, but said the Pilliods’ attorneys were “cherry-picking” phrases from hundreds of Monsanto’s internal emails to make the company look bad.  He also defended the ghostwritten scientific articles by saying they don’t address the issues at hand.

Mr. Wisner attempted to counter the Monsanto accusations that he had played a charade with Sawyer to manipulate the jury, but the judge stopped him, saying, “knock it off.”

After the Pilliods’ closings, Monsanto’s counsel asked the court to declare a mistrial, arguing that Wisner had made multiple arguments that were off-limits. But Alameda Superior Judge Winifred Smith denied the motion and refused Monsanto’s request to give a curative jury instruction.

The jury began its deliberations this morning.

Third Roundup Case Jury told to punish Monsanto with $1B Verdict
The case is Pilliod v. Monsanto Co., case number RG17862702, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Alameda.

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Monsanto faces Punitive Damages in Third Roundup Cancer Trial

(April 26, 2019) Monsanto faces punitive damages in the third Roundup cancer trial, unless a California judge in the case changes her mind.  The judge said yesterday that she will likely allow jurors to consider punitive damages if they find that using Monsanto’s Roundup caused both a husband and wife to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. If this jury does find Roundup caused the couple’s lymphoma, they will be the third jury in three trials to find Roundup causes cancer and that Monsanto knew or should have known it does.

The question of punitive damages would not have arisen at this stage of the trial – which began on March 28 and is not yet complete – except for the fact that Monsanto’s attorneys motioned to have punitive damages excluded from this trial. Monsanto’s attorneys’ aggressive move to make this motion appears to be ill advised. Its end result is to invite this and similar stories to be written, all of which further shed light on Monsanto Propaganda vs. the Truth of Roundup’s Carcinogenicity. It also sheds light on the recent litigation history of Monsanto’s repeated failures to buffet Roundup’s safety profile.

Monsanto Roundup Lawsuit Update:  13,400 Cases

Bayer AG’s CEO on Friday, April 26, said Monsanto faces 13,400 lawsuits over Roundup. He made the announcement to shareholders while defending Bayer’s $63 billion acquisition of Monsanto in 2018.

Monsanto Vile, Despicable, Malicious?

Bayer AG, which acquired Monsanto for $63 billion last year, alleged that no evidence exists to show Monsanto’s conduct was malicious, a prerequisite for punitive damages. A Monsanto attorney called the notion that Monsanto knew of Roundup’s cancer risks in the 1980s “completely speculative.” He also said a defendant’s conduct in such a case must be “vile and despicable.”

Those adjectives do present a pretty high bar (or rather a low one, in this instance) for a judge’s granting of punitive damages.

The Monsanto attorney said, “There is absolutely no evidence that its conduct rises to that level,” he said.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, however, noted that both juries in the previous two Roundup trials awarded punitive damages over claims that Roundup causes cancer and Monsanto knew that it did, yet failed to warn Roundup users.  In this trial, he said there is “considerably more evidence” Monsanto’s conduct was malicious.  In this trial, evidence has come in which includes Monsanto’s ghostwriting of academic articles in scientific journals which misled the scientific community about Roundup’s safety profile.

Judge Winifred Smith

Alameda Superior Judge Winifred Smith said her tentative ruling was to likely deny Monsanto’s motion to strike punitive damages.  She did say, however, that she would read all the briefs before deciding.

The arguments over punitive damages came during a hearing on jury instructions, the verdict form, and the Monsanto motion to strike punitive damages.

Husband and Wife both have cancer

Plaintiffs Alva (76) and Alberta Pilliod (74) brought the Roundup lawsuit after they were both exposed to decades of spraying Roundup on their four properties.  They both now suffer from aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer. The Pilliods rested their case-in-chief on April 23. Monsanto/Bayer will call their first witnesses Monday.

Monsanto’s lawyer claimed yesterday that the few small studies that suggested Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, might be carcinogenic weren’t published until the 1990s. He argued no other evidence showed glyphosate could cause cancer. He claimed the first real evidence didn’t surface until the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded glyphosate is a probable carcinogen in 2015. He said, therefore, that Monsanto couldn’t have been reasonably expected to warn consumers about Roundup’s potential risks.  He claimed Monsanto didn’t warn people because the company didn’t think it was dangerous and “no one else did.”

Monsanto’s main trial attorney further claimed “the science had not evolved to (reach) the conclusion (Roundup) causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma. At most, it’s a probable carcinogen,” he said.

The plaintiffs’ attorney said, however, that evidence shows Monsanto repeatedly refused to conduct certain cancer studies on Roundup since 1983.  He said Monsanto refused to change its Roundup formula to replace the ingredient polyethoxylated tallow amine, which has been banned in Europe and allegedly makes glyphosate 50 times more toxic.

Monsanto also didn’t warn consumers to take extra safety precautions when using the product, said the plaintiffs’ trial attorney. Instead, Monsanto continued to advertise Roundup with advertising that showed people spraying the product without gloves, while wearing t-shirts and shorts.

Monsanto’s conduct recklessly put people’s lives in danger, said the plaintiffs’ attorney.  That conduct constitutes malice under the law.  He added that there wouldn’t be any lawsuits if the court accepted Bayer’s argument that no one knew about glyphosate’s cancer link in the 1980s. He said what Monsanto knew about glyphosate’s cancer risks and when are being revealed through litigation.  He compared the process to the Tobacco cancer litigation in the 1990s.

Besides the punitive damages arguments, the parties also argued over whether the jury should be instructed using the “but for” causation standard — meaning, a harm would not have happened if not for a party’s actions — or the less-demanding “concurrent causation” standard that can hold more than one party liable for causing a disease.

Monsanto’s counsel claimed the court should use the but-for standard, because the Pilliods’ experts refused to concede that there could have been other contributing factors that caused the Pilliods’ cancer. However, the Pilliods’ lawyer argued that the tougher standard wasn’t warranted and that the other trials used the concurrent causation standard.

Judge Smith said she would examine the case law before deciding the issue. She also said the verdict form should ask the jury to make separate findings for Alva and Alberta Pilliod.

“I think it’s important that [the jury] understand these are two separate cases being decided together,” she said.

11,200 Roundup Lawsuits
The Pilliod trial is the third case to go to trial out of approximately 11,200 lawsuits pending that allege Roundup causes cancer.

1. The first trial against Monsanto over Roundup’s links to cancer was held last summer in state court in San Francisco. That jury reached a $289 million verdict against Monsanto, including $250 million in punitives. A total later cut to $78 million. Bayer filed its opening brief appealing that judgment in state appeals court April 23.

2. The second Roundup cancer trial was Ed Hardeman v. Monsanto. It ended last month in federal court with an $80 million verdict which included $75 million in punitive damages. Bayer, of course, said it would appeal the verdict. 

More of Bayer/Monsanto’s Dirty Pool

The Pilliod’s attorney told the judge yesterday that Bayer/Monsanto released the names and contact information of the jurors in the first Monsanto Roundup trial.  He asked the judge to prohibit Monsanto from releasing the names and contact information of the jury in this case. The Monsanto attorney told the judge Monsanto wouldn’t release the names of the jurors in this case.

The case is Pilliod v. Monsanto Co., case number RG17862702, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Alameda.

Related

* Monsanto Lawsuit Lawyer | Attorney

* Monsanto loses $80 Million Verdict

* Monsanto loses $289 Million Verdict

* California Winephosate

* Monsanto earns Monsatan Moniker

* Monsanto faces Punitive Damages in Third Roundup Cancer Trial

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