Bayer has reached a settlement with the mother of a young boy who developed a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, allegedly because of his exposure to Roundup.
The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. On Oct. 5, a jury in Los Angeles County returned a defense verdict in the boy’s case. This marked the first time Bayer successfully defended a Roundup cancer case at trial.
On Dec. 14, the same day the resolution was announced, attorneys representing the mother of the boy were scheduled to present a motion for a new trial.
Ezra Clark was four years old in 2016 when he was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma. His mother, Destiny Clark, filed suit against Monsanto in 2020. Destiny has alleged that Ezra was directly exposed to Roundup when she applied the herbicide to control weeds in the family’s garden.
Destiny claims that Monsanto failed to warn consumers about the risks of using glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. Bayer, the company that since 2018 has owned the Monsanto Corporation’s Roundup herbicide products, inherited this liability when it acquired Monsanto.
In court, plaintiff’s attorneys claimed that Ezra was exposed to Roundup every weekend for a couple of years, and because he has autism, he clung to his mother while she applied the herbicide. At the time Ezra was exposed to Roundup before his cancer diagnosis, Destiny testified she was unaware that her son was autistic. Ezra’s autism also made him habitually shun clothing because of sensory-integration. This put his skin in direct contact with Roundup spray.
According to testimony, Ezra’s three siblings stayed inside while their mother and Ezra were outside in the garden. None of Ezra’s siblings developed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and no history of cancer runs in the family.
Legal defense for Monsanto countered that Ezra’s cancer is the most common form of pediatric cancer, and that the Environmental Protection Agency has previously concluded that glyphosate is not likely to cause cancer in humans.
In 2015, the World Health Organization’s main cancer research body declared glyphosate, a compound Monsanto invented, a probable human carcinogen.
Over 125,000 individuals have filed Roundup cancer lawsuits. In 2020, Bayer settled approximately 95,000 of the claims for $11 billion. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma may take years to develop. As a result, many more individuals may file suit against Bayer in the future.
A federal judge has twice rejected Bayer’s proposal to settle future Roundup claims for an additional $2 billion. After juries returned plaintiff verdicts and damage awards in the tens of millions in the first three trials, defense verdicts have been returned in the last two trials, including Ezra’s case.