A California judge is considering splitting into two parts the second bellwether trial in a lawsuit blaming an ingredient in the weed killer Roundup for causing cancer, in the same fashion a different judge did for the first bellwether. The first phase would focus on whether the ingredient glyphosate caused the plaintiff’s cancer and, if so, the second phase proceeds to determine Bayer/Monsanto’s liability.
Lawyers for Bayer AG’s unit Monsanto asked California Superior Court Judge Winifred Smith to split the trial in the case of Alva and Alberta Pilliod, a husband and wife who allege each of them developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after using years of using Roundup in their garden. The suit is scheduled to be the second to stand trial in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. A hearing on the issue is scheduled for Feb. 8.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, who oversees the 680 cases in the federal litigation involving Roundup claims, approved Bayer’s request to split the litigation in the first scheduled bellwether. It involves the case of Edwin Hardeman, who says Roundup contributed to his non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis. His case is scheduled to go to trial Feb. 25.
Plaintiffs suing Monsanto allege that the chemical glyphosate in Roundup causes cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t determined whether the chemical is a carcinogen, but since 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has listed glyphosate as a probable carcinogen to humans.
Bayer AG acquired Monsanto in June 2018.