SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A federal jury in San Francisco unanimously ruled Tuesday that exposure to Monsanto Co.'s Roundup herbicide was a substantial factor in causing the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of a Sonoma County man.
The unanimous verdict by a six-person civil jury enables the lawsuit by Edwin Hardeman, 70, to move to a second phase of trial to determine Monsanto's liability and possible damages.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria scheduled opening arguments to begin Wednesday morning.
The jury reached the verdict on its fifth day of deliberation. Hardeman's lawsuit is the first to go to trial of more than 760 lawsuits that were filed against Monsanto in federal courts around the nation and transferred to Chhabria's court for judicial coordination.
Monsanto said it was "disappointed with the jury's initial decision."
"We continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer," the company said in a statement. "We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer."
"Regardless of the outcome, however, the decision in phase one of this trial has no impact on future cases and trials because each one has its own factual and legal circumstances. We have great sympathy for Mr. Hardeman and his family, but an extensive body of science supports the conclusion that Roundup was not the cause of his cancer. Bayer stands behind these products and will vigorously defend them."
It was the second San Francisco jury verdict to find that Roundup caused non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Last year, a different jury found that Roundup contributed to the cancer suffered by a former Bay Area groundskeeper.
That jury awarded the plaintiff, DeWayne Johnson, $289 million. A judge later slashed the award to $78 million, and Monsanto has appealed.
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