San Francisco (awp / afp) – Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller contributed to the cancer of septuagenarian Edwin Hardeman, an American jury said Tuesday, and caused a new setback for the agrochemical giant who was severely convicted in a similar lawsuit last summer .
The judges found that the retiree had demonstrated that Roundup was "a substantial factor" in his cancer, ending the first phase of this trial on 25 February.
At the request of the German group Bayer (who bought Monsanto last year), the debates were organized in two phases: a "scientist" who was responsible for Roundup's responsibility for the disease, and a second to give a possible answer . group responsibility.
At the time of the judgment, the complainant and his lawyers were intertwined. "We are very satisfied," said one of Hardeman & # 39; s lawyers, Jennifer Moore. He did not speak to the journalists himself.
In a statement, the prosecutor's law firm added that the debates could now focus on proof that "Monsanto did not have a responsible and objective approach to (Roundup's danger").
"Monsanto doesn't really care if his product causes cancer or not, he prefers to manipulate public opinion and discredits anyone who has raised legitimate concerns," lawyers have also attacked.
"We are disappointed" with this verdict, Bayer, who suffered a second major setback in a few months, was a bad omen for the German group that is the subject of thousands of similar proceedings in the United States alone.
In his statement, Bayer confirmed, as it has always done, that "science confirms that glyphosate herbicides do not cause cancer."
"We are confident that (phase 2) will show that Monsanto behaved properly and that the company should not be held responsible for Mr. Hardeman's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) agrochemical giant in 2016.
The second phase starts
The second phase of the trial – the first at the federal level – will start on Wednesday and this time will answer the following questions: did Monsanto know the risk & # 39; s? Did he hide them? If yes, what is the damage he has to pay?
Monsanto will be confronted with claims from its opponents, according to which it has remote control or even modified some studies to its advantage.
The group was sentenced to pay $ 289 million to Dewayne "Lee" Johnson, a father of two little boys, who was incurably ill, noting that Roundup was the cause but that Monsanto had behaved maliciously. by hiding the risks of its products with glyphosate.
This amount was later reduced to $ 78.5 million by a judge, while Bayer appealed against the merits of the judgment.
The Hardeman lawsuit, which could take another two weeks, is also known in US law as a "trial" for hundreds of others. The result must officially serve as a barometer for the tests that are grouped with him.
Specifically, it allows the parties to determine whether it is better to sign an extrajudicial agreement to settle the lawsuits, as is often done in the United States.
The retiree, who lives north of San Francisco, had explained that he had sprayed Roundup for more than 25 years to remove a very poisonous poison ivy from his property. And "very often" the weed killer noticed that he was in contact with his skin, he added.
During the first phase of the process, both parties objected to complex scientific studies and experts sometimes spent hours at the helm.
For the most part, persecution as a defense has accused each other of presenting biased, incomplete and insignificant studies.
Unlike the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a World Health Organization (WHO) agency, has since 2015 classified glyphosate as "a likely carcinogen." But not the European Efsa (food safety) agencies and Echa (chemicals).
afp / buc