She has a brain tumor and her husband's pelvis and spine taken for cancer. This couple of Californians has the opportunity today to take Monsanto to court.
Alva and Alberta Pilliod - both in their 70s - are plaintiffs in the third lawsuit against Monsanto to go to trial. Twelve jurors and five alternates were selected earlier this week. Opening statements began this morning in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland, California.
The Pilliod lawsuit is the latest in a snowball of lawsuits challenging the image of Monsanto - a company that built its reputation as a chemical industry powerhouse and was acquired by Germany's Bayer S.A in June 2018.
As in the two previous lawsuits - won by the plaintiffs - the Pilliods contend that it was Monsanto's long-term use of the glyphosate-based herbicide that led them to develop Hodgkin's Lymphoma - and that Monsanto failed to warn consumers about risks, while hiding and manipulating scientific information about its products.
"We are very angry and await justice," Alberta Pilliod told The Guardian newspaper last year. And he added that they did not wear protective gear when applying the herbicide because they believed in the company's advertising that its products were safe. He claimed that they would not have applied it that way, had they known about the risks. "If we had received adequate information, if we had been warned, this would not have happened." Alva says that cancer destroyed their lives: "They have been a miserable few years."
Last Wednesday, a six-person jury ruled in favor of plaintiff Edwin Hardeman, in San Francisco Federal Court, and ruled that he should be awarded a sum of more than $ 80 million - including $ 75 million in damages. punitive-. This is a claim similar to the one carried out by the Pilliods. Specifically, the court ruled that for economic damages Monsanto must pay the sum of US $ 200,967.10; for non-economic damages US $ 3,066,677, for future economic damages US $ 2 million; and for punitive damages US $ 75 million.
Last August, Dewanyne “Lee” Johnson was awarded US $ 289 million by a unanimous jury decision, which found that Monsanto's use of the herbicide caused non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and that Monsanto covered up the risks. The jury later lowered the sentence to $ 78 million, following Monsanto's appeal.
Cancer has hit the Pilliods couple hard, who have two children and four grandchildren. Alva was diagnosed in 2011 and has gone through various treatments. Alberta Pilliod has been hospitalized repeatedly since her diagnosis in 2015. And even though Alberta and her husband are considered recovered patients, Alberta continues to take a medication she calls "maintenance chemo." In an interview, he reported that he suffers from hearing loss, double vision and often loses balance, conditions that could become permanent.
The Pilliods used Roundup on a regular basis from the mid-1970s to a few years ago at various properties they own. The couple say they chose Roundup because they believed it was safe for them and also for the deer, ducks and other animals that roamed their land. Alberta Pilliod stated in an interview that she thought Roundup was "like sugar water."
Glyphosate, patented by Monsanto in 1974, is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world, generating billions of dollars in profits. It is the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup products and hundreds of other herbicides sold around the world. But while Monsanto and other chemical companies insist that their products do not cause cancer, the evidence presented in the first two trials includes numerous certified scientific studies showing that the products are carcinogenic.
The Pilliod lawsuit echoes claiming that "Monsanto carried out a protracted campaign of disinformation to convince state agencies, farmers and the general public that Roundup was safe," despite having the scientific evidence. which proved that it was not so.
Bayer, the new owner of Monsanto, maintains that the lawsuits linking its herbicide to cancer are without merit and ensures that its products have been properly labeled with clear instructions and warnings. In response to the Pilliod claim, Monsanto "denies what the plaintiffs held or will hold in relation to any injury, damage or loss caused to them by any act or omission on the part of Monsanto."
Edwin Hardeman's prosecutor's attorney stated in a video interview that Bayer and Monsanto need to start acting responsibly. "At a certain point this company needs to open up and admit that their products are dangerous," said attorney Jennifer Moore.
Judge Winifred Smith presides over the court that has the Pilliod case. The plaintiffs' attorneys anticipated that the trial will last approximately one month. Twelve members and five alternates make up the court by jury. The Pilliod v. Monsanto is the first lawsuit to come to trial among those gathered at the Roundup Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding (JCCP).
A list of relevant court documents can be found by clicking here.
Translated by Mariana Percovich from USRTK
Source: Monsanto Papers