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Judge Limits Evidence in Roundup Cancer Trial
USAgNet - 01/09/2019

A federal judge overseeing lawsuits alleging Bayer AG's glyphosate-based weed killer causes cancer has issued a ruling that could severely restrict evidence that the plaintiffs consider crucial to their cases.

According to Reuters, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco in an order on Thursday granted Bayer unit Monsanto's request to split an upcoming trial into two phases. The order initially bars lawyers for plaintiff Edwin Hardeman from introducing evidence that the company allegedly attempted to influence regulators and manipulate public opinion.

Last week's order applies to Hardeman's case, which is scheduled to go to trial on Feb. 25, and two other so-called bellwether trials which will help determine the range of damages and define settlement options for the rest of the 620 Roundup cases before Chhabria.

But Hardeman's lawyers contended that such evidence, including internal Monsanto documents, showed the company's misconduct and were critical to California state court jury's August 2018 decision to award $289 million in a similar case. The verdict sent Bayer shares tumbling though the award was later reduced to $78 million and is under appeal, report Reuters.

Under Chhabria's order, evidence of Monsanto's alleged misconduct would be allowed only if glyphosate was found to have caused Hardeman's cancer and the trial proceeded to a second phase to determine Bayer's liability.

Bayer denies allegations that glyphosate causes cancer, saying decades of independent studies have shown the world's most widely used weed killer to be safe for human use.

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