RICHMOND, Va. — This time watching from afar, Richmond attorney Timothy Litzenburg said news that a second jury came to the conclusion that the popular weed killer Roundup caused a man’s cancer bolsters thousands of similar cases.
“The more that I find out, and the more we see juries reacting to this information, I think this is a case where the plaintiffs are going to win the vast majority of the time, so we’re going to go to trial as often as possible,” Litzenburg said.
“Do you think people should be using this product?” CBS 6 reporter Melissa Hipolit asked Litzenburg
“Oh absolutely not,” he replied.
Litzenburg represents Dewayne Lee Johnson, the California man who won the first multi million dollar jury verdict against the maker of Roundup.
Johnson is a former school groundskeeper who used Roundup 20 to 30 times per year and now has non-hodgkins lymphoma.
One of Litzenburg’s other clients lives in Chesterfield and has the same type of cancer which he said he developed after using Roundup while working as a contractor in New Orleans.
We first introduced viewers to Joe Demajo back in May of 2017.
Litzenburg said Demajo should be encouraged by the second jury’s decision.
After all, a 2015 decision by the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization classified the active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, as probably carcinogenic to humans.
“It shows the first case was not a fluke, it makes it more likely that his, and everybody’s case, will be successful if it goes to trial,” Litzenburg said.
Still, the maker of the product, Monsanto, which is now a part of Bayer after a merger, stands by its products, and said it will vigorously defend them saying in a statement the most recent verdict will have no impact on future cases and trials and they plan to appeal.
They also pointed out that “four decades of extensive science and conclusions of regulators worldwide support the safety of our glyphosate-based herbicides and that they are not carcinogenic.”
And also highlighted that the EPA found the ingredient is “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”
Throughout all the lawsuits and recent jury decisions Roundup remains on store shelves, which is something Litzenburg hopes changes over time.
“A, why is this still on the market, and B, if it’s going to be on the market why isn’t there a warning at this point?” Hipolit asked Litzenburg about Roundup.
“You can’t sue to have a label updated or changed, you can’t sue to have something taken off the market, but you hope these results and this news will impact something like that,” Litzenburg replied.
Litzenburg said he believes a settlement in the mass tort lawsuit is a possibility, so we asked Bayer if they planned to work toward a settlement.
A spokesperson told us “it is important in product liability litigation like this to assess these cases over the long term, as there will likely be a number of trials and verdicts, as well as appeals to be decided before verdicts become final,” adding that it could take years before they reach a clear outcome for the litigation.