Blog

Jury Awards California Couple $2 Billion in Roundup Injury Case

Alva and Alberta Pilliod used Roundup weedkiller on their California property for more than 36 years. In 2011, Alva was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Four years later, Alberta received the same devastating cancer diagnosis. The odds of both spouses getting this same diagnosis was one in 20,000. They sued Bayer, claiming that its pesticide caused their cancer.

Roundup weedkiller has been at the center of controversy for quite some time now. The company faces more than 13,000 product liability lawsuits. The Pilliod’s case was the third Roundup injury lawsuit to go to trial. Last month, a California jury awarded the couple more than $2 Billion in damages. This was the largest jury award of 2019, and the eighth largest verdict in American history.

California’s Product Liability Laws Protect Consumers

Products that are sold in the United States aren’t always subject to government oversight. In fact, manufacturers are largely responsible for making sure that the things you buy and use are safe. It’s hard to trust that a company will put consumer safety in front of its own profits. Companies might be inclined to cut corners and skip safety tests to limit their own costs.

In order to encourage companies to make safe products, states across the country have created product liability laws. In California, consumers are protected if they’re injured because of an unreasonably dangerous or defective product. Companies like Bayer can be held strictly liable for any harm their products cause.

Consumers don’t have to prove that a manufacturer was negligent. Instead, companies are responsible for dangerous products regardless fo the level of care they exercised in making it. The threat of a lawsuit and financial liability puts a lot of pressure on companies to do the right thing.

Types of Product Liability Claims

A company can be financially liable if a consumer is injured because of a defect in one of its products. There are three primary types of defects: design, manufacturing, and marketing.

A design defect exists when a product is inherently unsafe. It’s dangerous because of the way it was designed and will remain that way. It doesn’t matter how careful the company was in manufacturing the product. Something in the design makes it unsafe.

Many Roundup lawsuits claim that Roundup has a design defect. The product is inherently dangerous because it contains glyphosate. Many studies show that glyphosate causes cancer, especially when combined with other chemicals.

A manufacturing defect exists when a product isn’t put together properly. Sometimes companies use the wrong materials or forget to include an important component. The design is fine; the danger exists because the company made a mistake when manufacturing it.

A marketing defect is also known as a failure to warn. This exists when a company doesn’t inform consumers about potential risks that could occur when using the product as intended. This is why you see so many instructions and warning labels on the products you buy.

Roundup lawsuits also claim that Bayer failed to warn consumers about the risks of using the pesticide. Some plaintiffs even accuse the company of knowing about the risk but intentionally burying information that could hurt sales. Simply put, Bayer is accused of putting its own profits in front of the lives of its customers.

Punitive Damages Available When a Company Acts With Malice, Fraud

Most personal injury plaintiffs will only be entitled to compensatory (economic and non-economic) damages. Compensatory damages are awarded to make up for the financial, physical, and emotional costs of an accident and injury. They’re not paid to punish the person (or company) that is at fault.

Punitive damages are awarded for this purpose. However, punitive damages are only available in a very small fraction of personal injury cases. In California, punitive awards are permissible when there is “clear and convincing evidence” that a defendant “engaged in conduct with malice, oppression, or fraud.”

So far, all of the plaintiffs in Roundup injury trials have been awarded punitive damages. In fact, punitive damages have accounted for a considerable percentage of the jury awards. Alva and Alberta Pilliod were each awarded $1 Billion in punitive damages. They also received a combined $55 million in compensatory damages for their financial costs and suffering. The juries determined that Bayer – formerly Monsanto – acted with fraud and caused significant harm.

Request Your
Free Consultation

Schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers today by filling out the form below, or call us at 844-821-5271

    • img
    • img
    • img
    • img
    • img

    “Mr. Glotzer represented me after I was involved in a car accident. I was badly injured,but the insurance company refused to offer me a reasonable settlement. I decided to find an attorney and decided to hire Josh.

    His law firm did a great job on my case. They were very responsive to all my questions and obtained a great resolution for me. I received way more money than was originally offered. I would recommend their firm to friends and family.”

    • img
    • img
    • img
    • img
    • img

    “Mr. Josh Glotzer is a great attorney. Over the last 15 years he has helped me on a number of cases with professionalism, and more importantly a positive outcome in my favor. I have referred him to a number of friends and colleagues, all of which have been equally as happy with his legal representation. I trust him and confident in legal ability. I highly recommend his law firm.”

    • img
    • img
    • img
    • img
    • img

    “Don’t try to deal with insurance companies on your own. They strung me along for almost two years before I gave the case to Glotzer & Leib. Josh and his team quickly obtained a settlement that netted me many times what the insurance company was offering. Thank You!”

    • img
    • img
    • img
    • img
    • img

    “My wife was in a car accident last year and Josh did an amazing job representing her. It’s very refreshing to see someone in his profession that actually cares and puts his clients first. He’s the best in the business and I feel so fortunate that I was referred to him. Keep up the great work and thanks for everything you did for my family!”

    • img
    • img
    • img
    • img
    • img

    “I was in a rear end car accident last year and hired Mr. Glotzer’s office. It wasn’t a big case but their office helped me with my property damage claim and did a good job resolving the injury portion of the case as well.”

view all testimonials

$1,250,000

Slip and fall
view all case results

Personal Injury Blog

Helpful information, news about the firm and latest updates

view all blog posts