Yesterday, Monsanto’s mother company, Bayer, was dealt another serious blow when after less than two full days of deliberations, a California jury ordered Monsanto to pay just over $2 billion to Alberta and Alva Pilliod. The jury felt the couple was due the large sum of punitive and compensatory damages after they both developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma from their many years of Roundup use.

Pilliod v. Monsanto is the third Roundup cancer case to go to trial. The first two trials also found that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicides can (and do) cause cancer and that Monsanto has known that for a long time and simply covered it up. (Something they deny.) In solidarity, both Johnson and Hardeman attended closing arguments during the Pilliod trial.


Alva Pilliod was diagnosed in 2011 with non-Hodgkin lymphoma that spread from his bones to his pelvis and spine, and his wife Alberta was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma brain cancer in 2015. Thankfully, they are both in remission. The couple, both in their 70s, started using Roundup in the 1970s and only discontinued use a couple years ago.

During the three trials, not only have scientific studies showing the dangers of glyphosate been presented, but attorneys have “presented jurors with many internal Monsanto communications obtained through court-ordered discovery that show Monsanto has intentionally manipulated the public record to hide the cancer risks.”1

Here are a couple “revelations” that have come from the trials:1

  • Monsanto has never conducted epidemiology studies for Roundup and its other formulations made with the active ingredient glyphosate to evaluate the cancer risks for users.
  • Monsanto was aware that the 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.
  • The EPA helped to delay a review of glyphosate’s toxicity after the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry sought an eval in 2015.
  • Monsanto enjoyed a close relationship with certain officials within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who have repeatedly backed Monsanto’s assertions about the safety of its glyphosate products.
  • The company internally had worker safety recommendations that called for wearing a full range of protective gear when applying glyphosate herbicides, but did not warn the public to do the same.

In yet another trial, Monsanto has demonstrated that they do not care about public health, just making money. Instead of investing in good, sound science they have continually “invested millions in attacking science that threatened their business agenda.”1

Bayer issued a statement and like in every other case (and each one of the thousands currently on the docket) plan to appeal:

“Bayer is disappointed with the jury’s decision and will appeal the verdict in this case, which conflicts directly with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s interim registration review decision released just last month, the consensus among leading health regulators worldwide that glyphosate-based products can be used safely and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic, and the 40 years of extensive scientific research on which their favorable conclusions are based.

We have great sympathy for Mr. and Mrs. Pilliod, but the evidence in this case was clear that both have long histories of illnesses known to be substantial risk factors for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), most NHL has no known cause, and there is not reliable scientific evidence to conclude that glyphosate-based herbicides were the “but for” cause of their illnesses as the jury was required to find in this case.”1

For the jury to order punitive damages, they had to find that people acting on behalf of Monsanto had “engaged in conduct with malice, oppression or fraud committed by one or more officers, directors or managing agents of Monsanto.”

And they did.

Below is the breakdown of the award1:

Alva Pilliod- Compensatory:

  • Past economic – $47,296.01
  • Past non-economic loss – $8 million
  • Future non-economic loss – $10 million
  • Punitive damages – $1 billion

Alberta Pilliod- Compensatory:

  • Past economic – $201,166.76
  • Past non-economic – $8 million
  • Future economic  – $2,957,710
  • Future non-economic – $26 million
  • Punitive damages – $1 billion

TOTAL – $2.055 billion  

A federal judge ordered Bayer to begin mediation with the Pilliod’s attorneys and a hearing is set for next week in San Francisco. This newest verdict is expected to further erode Bayer AG’s market value. Since the first verdict, Johnson, was announced, shares have dropped more than 40 percent.



  1. US Right To Know