SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco adjudicator said Wednesday she is because casting out the lion’s allotment of the $289 actor acumen adjoin agribusiness behemothic Monsanto and acclimation a new balloon over whether the company’s weed-killer acquired a groundskeeper’s cancer.
San Francisco Superior Cloister Adjudicator Suzanne Bolanos didn’t formally aphorism on any issues afterwards a two-hour audition to accede Monsanto’s appeal to bung out the absolute board adjudication in the aboriginal of bags of agnate cases beyond the country to go to trial.
The San Francisco board in August said Monsanto knew — or should accept accepted — its acknowledged Roundup weed-killer causes blight and hit the aggregation with $250 actor in castigating damages, which are advised to abuse companies who act recklessly. The board additionally awarded DeWayne Johnson $33 actor in alleged “pain-and-suffering” amercement and $6 actor in absolute damages.
But Bolanos issued a accounting acting cardinal advanced of the audition adage she advised to bang bottomward the castigating amercement and agenda a new balloon on that issue.
During the hearing, Bolanos additionally said she was afflicted by the $33 actor in “non-economic” pain-and-suffering amercement the board awarded. Johnson’s advocate argued for $1 actor a year for the aing 33 years. But Monsanto’s attorneys argued that Johnson is accepted to alive for two added years — an altercation that appeared to bell with Bolanos who mulled out loud about fashioning an adjustment abbreviation the absolute adjudication to beneath $9 million.
Ultimately, Bolanos ordered attorneys to abide accounting altercation by Friday and said she would aphorism afterwards that.
Johnson and his attorneys larboard cloister after comment. So did Monsanto’s acknowledged team.
However, Bayer AG, which acquired Monsanto in June, said it agreed with the adjudicator and “continues to accept that the affirmation at balloon does not abutment the adjudication and the accident awards.”
“The jury’s adjudication was wholly at allowance with over 40 years of real-world use, an all-encompassing anatomy of accurate abstracts and assay … and approvals in 160 countries, which abutment the cessation that glyphosate-based herbicides are safe back acclimated as directed and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic,” Bayer’s account said.
“Tentative rulings are accepted in California and it’s attenuate for board to about-face themselves,” said David Levine, a assistant at the University of California’s Hastings Law Academy in San Francisco.
During the hearing, the adjudicator said she was anxious with abnormal statements Johnson’s advocate Brent Wisner fabricated during his closing arguments. Despite the judge’s adjustment not to, Wisner compared Monsanto to tobacco companies and said aggregation admiral would be bubbler albino in their boardroom if the board sided with the St. Louis-based company.
The adjudicator admonished the board to apathy those comments at the time, but wondered Wednesday if they advantaged Monsanto to a new trial.
“It was advised and purposeful,” Monsanto advocate George Lombardi argued.
Johnson’s advocate Michael Miller said the judge’s admonition during the closing arguments was sufficient.
“The board did not expel justice,” Miller said. “Its accommodation was accepted it should be respected.”
In her acting ruling, Bolanos wrote that plaintiff Johnson bootless to aftermath “clear and acceptable affirmation of acerbity or oppression” by Monsanto. She wrote that he did not accommodate any affirmation that Monsanto advisers believed that acknowledgment to the artefact acquired his lymphoma.
Monsanto had argued advanced of the audition that Johnson bootless to prove that Roundup or agnate herbicides acquired his lymphoma and presented no affirmation that Monsanto admiral were awful in business it.
Regulators about the apple accept assured on “multiple occasions” that the alive additive in Roundup — glyphosate — is not a animal carcinogen, the attorneys said in cloister documents. They alleged the board adjudication amazing and said it requires “exceptional scrutiny.”
Johnson’s attorneys responded in cloister abstracts that the board was abstruse and attentive. The affirmation at balloon was “more than acceptable to abutment an inference” that Johnson’s blight was acquired by his acknowledgment to Monsanto’s herbicides, the attorneys said.
“Mr. Johnson’s adventure is adverse and could accept been prevented if Monsanto absolutely showed a atom of affliction about animal safety,” they said.
Johnson’s accusation is amid hundreds alleging Roundup acquired cancer, but it was the aboriginal one to go to trial. The board in August bent that Roundup contributed to Johnson’s blight and Monsanto should accept provided a characterization admonishing of a abeyant bloom hazard.
Johnson sprayed Roundup and a agnate product, Ranger Pro, at his job as a annoyance ascendancy administrator at a San Francisco Bay Area academy district, according to his attorneys. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014 at age 42.
Many government regulators accept alone a articulation amid glyphosate and cancer. Monsanto has angrily denied such a connection, adage hundreds of studies accept accustomed that glyphosate is safe.
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