At the heart of most product liability lawsuits is the allegation that a manufacturer failed to warn consumers of the dangers posed by the product. Many of the things consumers buy contain some inherent dangers - risks most people are willing to take as long as manufacturers include warnings and instructions on how to use the product more safely. When they fail to do this, companies expose themselves to serious legal and financial liability.
The best recent example may be landmark rulings in lawsuits against Monsanto, makers of the popular herbicide Roundup. Monsanto, which was purchased in 2018 by pharmaceutical giant Bayer, has been selling Roundup since the mid-1970s and continues to claim that the product is entirely safe "when used as directed." Others disagree, including more than 13,000 plaintiffs who are suing the company, alleging that Roundup exposure causes cancer and other health problems.
Plaintiffs in three Roundup lawsuits have all won huge jury awards against Monsanto/Bayer. The first two cases, in which individual men alleged that Roundup's key ingredient glyphosate caused them to develop cancer, each resulted in payouts totaling tens of millions of dollars.
In the most recent case, a California couple was awarded an astonishing $2.055 billion in damages related to Roundup exposure. The verdict included approximately $55 million in compensation and $2 billion in punitive damages. The plaintiffs, a husband and wife in their seventies, each developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma four years apart. They had used Roundup on their property for more than 30 years, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma is the type of cancer most commonly associated with glyphosate exposure.
Even after three consecutive legal losses, Monsanto/Bayer maintains that Roundup is safe, and that they plan to appeal the verdicts. As such, they have not announced any plans to settle the thousands of Roundup claims that are still pending. That could change, of course, if juries continue to rule in favor of plaintiffs and award huge payouts.
If you've been seriously injured or sickened by a dangerous or defective product, you may not be the only one, and you don't have to suffer alone. Please discuss your rights and legal options with an experienced product liability attorney in your area.