Roundup trial set to begin at federal court in San Francisco

By Ann Maher | Feb 25, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO - Trial is set to begin today at U.S. District Court involving claims that weedkiller Roundup caused a man's non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

The core of plaintiff Edwin Hardeman's argument is that the product's key ingredient glyphosate is carcinogenic.

In pre-trial proceedings, District Judge Vince Chhabria decided to split the trial into two parts, and will only allow scientific evidence that might prove a link between the weedkiller and the cancer.

Chhabria presides over 625 cases out of close of 10,000 nationwide. The Hardeman action is the first of three bellwether cases that will likely deliver a road map for the others on his docket.

In January, Chhabria barred Hardeman's lawyers from including testimony that Roundup maker Monsanto, which was acquired by Bayer last year, allegedly manipulated evidence, intimidated scientists and regulators. The judge expressed concern that plaintiff lawyers would try to "mis-characterize" statements made by Monsanto employees.

Chhabria held that those claims would only be allowed if jurors find that Roundup caused Hardeman's cancer. Damage assessment would follow finding of fault.

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