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Negligence & Personal Injury

Man with Cancer Caused By Roundup Weed Killer Gets $80 Million from Jury

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A California man who says that Roundup weed killer gave him cancer was just awarded $80 million in damages in his lawsuit.

In the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in San Francisco, 70 year-old Edwin Hardeman claimed that Roundup caused his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer. Mr. Hardeman said that he frequently used Roundup weed killer products to treat weeds, overgrowth and poison ivy in his property for years.

Roundup is the most popular weed killer worldwide, and it is manufactured by U.S.-based Monsanto Corporation, which was recently acquired by German-based Bayer Corporation. The agribusiness giants market the weed killer around the globe to consumers.

The active ingredient at issue in the Roundup weed killer is glyphosate. Plaintiffs in lawsuits around the country are alleging that this chemical compound is a carcinogen.

After hearing testimony, the jury concluded that the Roundup product was a “substantial factor” in causing Mr. Hardeman’s cancer.

In a statement following the verdict, Monsanto said that it stands by its product. The agribusiness giant affirmed that the weed killer is safe for personal use, and that it will appeal the jury’s decision. Monsanto highlighted that regulators from around the world, including recently in the United States, have concluded that glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer.

Monsanto is citing decisions by government regulators who have rejected a causal link between Roundup and cancer. They also claim that hundreds of scientific studies support their conclusion that glyphosate does not cause cancer.

But other studies show otherwise. For example, in 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer determined that glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) is a “probably” carcinogen for humans.

But Monsanto and Bayer have called that conclusion an “outlier” and point to the decisions of other regulators finding no connection between glyphosate and cancer. Recently, the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency found that glyphosate is safe for humans to use, when following the product label warnings and instructions.

Experts say that this case could help drive forward the thousands of other lawsuits that are currently active against Monsanto and Bayer for the Roundup product. There are currently more than 11,200 active lawsuits in the United States against the companies, all of which allege that Roundup caused cancer or sickness. Experts have estimated the settlement cost of all of these lawsuits at more than $5 billion.

So far, only one other case against the makers of Roundup has made it to the trial phase; there, a jury awarded the plaintiff $289 million, concluding that Roundup caused his cancer. (A judge later cut those damages to $78 million, and Monsanto is currently appealing.)

Importantly, the judge presiding over Mr. Hardeman’s case currently has hundreds of other Roundup lawsuits on his docket. He has previously called Mr. Hardeman’s lawsuit as a “bellwether trial,” meaning that it could signal how the other hundreds of cases to come could be determined. This verdict against Monsanto, therefore, could signal a more successful path forward for the other cases still awaiting trial.

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Negligence & Personal Injury

Traumatic Brain Injury May Increase Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

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According to a new study, people who have had a history of traumatic brain injury, otherwise known as TBI, have an increased risk for developing some type of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. The research indicates it may accelerate the onset of the disease by about four years.

TBI and Dementia

Dementia is a general term that may include multiple diseases. All have one thing in common – they include a decline in mental ability. This decline is serious enough that it interferes with their ability to act and interact in daily life as it progresses. One of the most well-known conditions under the term dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.

The causes of dementia can vary but all are triggered by abnormal changes in the brain. They result in a loss of cognitive skills or the ability to think. The loss also impacts the person’s feelings, behaviors and even their relationships with others.

A TBI is caused by a sudden impact to the head. It can happen from a fall or car accident as well as other situations where the person hits their head. A person who experiences a TBI may lose consciousness even for only a few seconds. They may suffer from other symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Trouble speaking clearly
  • Unable to recall the event that caused the TBI
  • Difficulty learning or remembering new information
  • Lack of coordination
  • Difficulty seeing clearly
  • Trouble hearing or ringing in the ears
  • Unsteady when walking or standing

A TBI can cause issues even years later when the person seems to have recovered from the injury. A doctor will label a TBI as mild, moderate or severe based on various factors, including how long they were unconscious and severity of other symptoms. However, it is important to understand that even a mild TBI can have serious effects that are long-lasting.

Mild to Severe TBIs

A mild TBI is known as a concussion and it doesn’t result in unconsciousness at all or for more than 30 minutes. The person may experience dizziness or a headache, nausea and confusion, but the symptoms go away in a few hours or days. However, in some cases, they can last for several months.

A moderate TBI causes unconsciousness that lasts between 30 minutes and 24 hours with a severe TBI being over 24 hours of unconsciousness. They have the same symptoms as the mild version, only stronger and may last longer.

The ability to learn new information or remember things and to pay attention are symptoms that can be long-lasting or permanent from a TBI. The person may have difficulty organizing their thoughts or being able to create a plan.

Research in the past had linked moderate to severe TBIs with dementia. New research shows that even a mild TBI or repeated mild TBIs may result in an increased risk for developing some type of dementia. Research shows that a protein seen in Alzheimer’s patients is evident within hours of a mild TBI event. Not everyone who has a TBI will develop dementia, but it is important to be aware of the risk.

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Defective Products

Bayer Settles 90% of U.S. Essure Claims for 1.6 Billion

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About 90 percent of the more than 39,000 lawsuits filed against Bayer over Essure injuries have been resolved by a $1.6 billion settlement. Bayer said in a statement that the settlement resolves most filed and unfiled cases and that it continues to work with plaintiff’s lawyers to resolve the remaining cases.

FDA Actions and Essure Injury Complaints

The settlement comes after years of complains of adverse events involving the metal coils which are placed in the fallopian tubes. Some of these complaints say that the coils can perforate the tubes, tear the uterus, and that the coils can break causing little metal shards to migrate elsewhere in the body. Women have also complained of heavy bleeding, pain, and other side effects that the patients were forced to undergo hysterectomy.

In 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration placed restrictions on the device and required patients to review the Patient- Doctor Discussion Checklist and sign prior to being implanted with the birth control device. Bayer made the decision to stop selling Essure in the United States not long after citing declining sales.

Post-Market Surveillance Reports

The required 522 study, a post-marketing surveillance plan, was also extended by the FDA from three to five years. The FDA published the first spreadsheet of Essure adverse events on August 11, 2020, which includes events that Bayer knew or learns of during the period of November 2016 to November 2020.

The first spreadsheet includes more than 1,400 events including pain, device fragments, pregnancy, and organ perforations, including 1376 reports of serious injury, 53 reports of death and 24 reports of malfunction.

Essure Lawsuit Settlement

Many of the plaintiffs alleged in court filings that Bayer knew or should have known about the risk of adverse events, including organ perforation, device breakage, and device migration. They also allege that Essure birth control was improperly design and can break and migrate after being implanted. They accused Bayer of misrepresenting the efficacy and safety of the contraceptive device and Women who suffered Essure injuries alleged in court filings that Bayer concealed the risks and dangers of the device from the FDA, the medical community and from the women who relied on the device.

Many of the terms of the settlement are confidential, and Bayer did not admit to any wrongdoing in the court filings.

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Negligence & Personal Injury

The Ties Between Roundup and Cancer

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Roundup is a weed killer used on farms throughout the United States. However, studies have been done which show this is a dangerous product with many side effects. One of those side effects is cancer, which can be fatal. In fact, numerous lawsuits have been filed against Monsanto, the maker of Roundup.

Types of Cancer Caused by Roundup

Much research has been done to link Roundup to certain types of cancer. One of the most well-known is Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. However, it is also tied to several others, including:

  • Renal cell carcinoma
  • Skin tumors
  • Hairy cell leukemia
  • Various types of lymphoma
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Pancreatic islet cell tumors

There is also some support that Roundup may cause damage to DNA and chromosomes. Some believe it may also create a higher risk for Parkinson’s disease.

What is Roundup?

Roundup is a weed killer manufactured by Monsanto since the 1970s when it was first introduced. It was so successful at killing weeds without harming the crops that it has become the most widely used product for weed control throughout the world.

Monsanto is also one of the engineers of seeds, and it has developed crops that are resistant to glyphosate, the active ingredient found in Roundup. Farmers can spray the fields with Roundup and not hurt the crops while getting rid of weeds.

The weeds have developed a resistance to glyphosate, which means the product must be sprayed more heavily. This has caused a higher exposure to the product for farmers.

Numerous studies have been released on the risks associated with Roundup and other weed killers. One such study was done by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and they looked at five different pesticides to determine if they could cause cancer. From the research conducted, glyphosate was labeled as probably carcinogenic for people.

The studies came from agricultural exposure of people in the US as well as in Canada and Sweden. There was also evidence that the ingredient in Roundup could cause cancer in lab animals.

More research is being done to determine what levels of exposure can increase the risk for developing these types of cancer. The US Environmental Protection Agency conducted their own study in 1995 and labeled as probably carcinogenic for humans. The agency has changed its position and now states that it is not a carcinogen. In fact, it says Roundup is low toxicity if it’s used as directed.

The EPA drafted another assessment in December of 2017 that went even further to say there was no toxicity towards animals – even birds within their normal environment.

Lawsuits Filed

More than 800 lawsuits have been filed against Monsanto since the IARC report was released. They are claiming that the manufacturer should have warned users about the risks of using the product instead of promoting it as safe.

According to many of the claimants, they did not wear protective clothing and gear when spraying Roundup. In fact, some of them were directly exposed when the spray accidentally got on their skin. People from all over the country have been exposed, on large agricultural farms and in small backyards.

While Monsanto is the producer of Roundup, which is the top-used pesticide in the world, it is not the only company that manufacturers weed killers with the same active ingredient. However, lawsuits claim that it is not just the glyphosate that is the cause of the cancers. It is the mix of other ingredients, such as animal fats, that increase the carcinogenic properties of the chemical.

The situation is not a simple one as many other reports show a different view. In fact, over 800 studies have been done to show the safety of glyphosate, according to Monsanto. One such agency, the European Chemicals Agency, stated that the ingredient is not classified as carcinogenic. Other reports from Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Europe and even the United States support that claim.

The first trial against Monsanto was held in California with a verdict coming in August 2018. The verdict was for $289 million but was reduced to $78 million. It did hold the manufacturer responsible for a plaintiff with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Punitive damages were also awarded.

The second trial, which was also the first federal trial also provided a victory for the plaintiff with payment of $80 million ordered. More lawsuits will likely be forthcoming given the verdicts already received.

Monsanto still maintains that the pesticide is safe for use on weeds when label instructions are followed.

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