A Santa Rosa man has filed a lawsuit against Bayer, claiming that the company’s widely-popular Roundup pesticide was to blame for his cancer diagnosis. At trial, 70-year-old Edwin Hardeman explained that he used Roundup weed killer for more than three decades, starting back in 1986. He regularly applied the pesticide to his property to eradicate weeds and poison oak.
It wasn’t uncommon for some of the weed killer to come into contact with his skin when it was sprayed across his land. He argues that his exposure to Roundup, and its active ingredient glyphosate, is the reason why he’s developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Bayers Facing Thousands of Roundup Lawsuits
Hardeman is not the only person to sue Bayer over concerns that its pesticide causes cancer. In fact, the company currently faces more than 11,000 lawsuits in state and federal courts around the nation. Many of the lawsuits have been consolidated into multi-district litigation in California.
Hardeman’s is one of the first cases to go to trial. Only one other Roundup injury lawsuit has been resolved. In 2018, a San Francisco jury ordered Bayer to pay $289 million to a man who, like Hardeman, was diagnosed with cancer after being exposed to Roundup for years.
Hardeman’s trial will unfold a bit differently than the first Roundup case. Specifically, it will involve two phases.
The first will involve determining whether or not glyphosate causes cancer. The jury will be able to consider (a) scientific evidence and (b) some evidence suggesting that Monsanto/Bayer fraudulently falsified and manipulated studies to downplay risks.
The trial will only proceed to a second phase, at which time Bayer’s liability will be litigated, if the jury determines that the pesticide causes cancer.
Product Liability Lawsuits in California
There are California laws in place to make sure that products that are marketed and sold in the state are safe. Companies that want to do business in California are held to heightened standards under the state’s product liability laws.
Specifically, companies have to go to great lengths to make sure that their products won’t harm consumers if they’re used as intended. If a product is unreasonably dangerous or defective, the company responsible for that product can be strictly liable for injuries that result.
California product liability laws encourage companies to put a lot of effort and oversight into how their products are designed, manufactured, and marketed. Since companies can be held responsible even in the absence of negligence, there is pressure to do things right.
When a company does know that its product might pose certain risks or dangers, it has an obligation to pass that information along to consumers. A primary argument in many Roundup injury lawsuits is that Monsanto/Bayer knew about risks associated with its popular pesticide, but failed to provide adequate warnings. Many lawsuits even accuse the company of intentionally burying negative studies to mislead the public and bolster sales.
Consumers Have One Year From the Date of Discovery to File a Lawsuit
Most personal injury cases in California must be filed within two years of the date of an accident. There’s a special exception to the statute of limitations that can apply in product liability matters. If you’re injured because of a defective product, you will generally have one year from the date you discover your injury to file your claim for damages.
Why? Sometimes an injury isn’t obvious right away. Other times, it can take years for an adverse health issue to develop. The state of California doesn’t want to take away your right to recover compensation for reasons outside of your control. You may be entitled to additional time to pursue compensation as long as the delay in discovering your injury was reasonable.
You can protect your right to file a lawsuit. Contact an Orange County personal injury attorney immediately after you realize you’ve been injured. Call the Law Offices of John Rapillo to find out how we can help you fight for the money you deserve.