LOS ANGELES — Bayer/Monsanto reached a settlement with a Walnut woman who claimed her son’s exposure to the pesticide Roundup was the cause of his rare cancer.
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury on Oct. 5 found that her son Ezra’s exposure to Roundup was not a substantial factor in causing his cancer. Judge Daniel J. Buckley was due to hear her attorneys’ motion for a new trial on Tuesday when the resolution was announced. No terms were disclosed.
Roundup has been accused of causing non-Hodgkin lymphoma in thousands of people since Bayer bought Roundup maker Monsanto in 2018 for $63 million.
Roundup weed killer (File photo)
Clark, 42, brought her suit in December 2020. Ezra was 4 years old when she was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma, a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, in 2016. He is now 10 years old.
Clark testified that her son was often with her in the backyard of their childhood home on Fuero Drive when she injected Roundup. She claimed that Bayer/Monsanto had not sufficiently warned her about the cancer risks of using glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup.
“He was exposed every weekend for a few years,” Fletcher Trammell, one of Clark’s attorneys, told the jurors during opening statements.
Clark was unaware at the time, but her son was autistic and habitually clung to her while using the herbicide, Trammell said. The boy’s autism also caused him to shy away from clothes due to sensory processing problems, and he usually wore little more than a diaper, according to Trammell. The exposure ended in 2016 when the boy began vomiting and developing diarrhea and doctors later found a large mass in his stomach, Trammell said.
Trammell said the Clark family had no history of lymphoma and that Destiny Clark’s other three children, who stayed inside while she injected Roundup, did not contract Burkitt’s lymphoma.
However, Monsanto attorney Brian Steckloff told jurors that the Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to be a human carcinogen and therefore Roundup can still be purchased in stores. He rejected Trammell’s argument that the EPA was only concerned with the effects of glyphosate on food and spraying crops with pesticides, arguing that the agency had examined all aspects of its potential effects.
Steckloff also said that children typically don’t get cancer from environmental exposure and that Destiny Clark’s own relatives undermined much of her argument during their testimony, with some saying they didn’t see anyone spraying Roundup around Ezra.
While Destiny Clark claims her parents bought her several bottles of Roundup a year, her father, Charles Crenshaw, testified that he only bought about two bottles a year, Steckloff said.
Ezra’s condition, the most common form of childhood cancer, was likely caused by mutations in his DNA, Steckloff said.
“While we have great sympathy for Ezra Clark and his family, the jury carefully considered the science applicable to this case and determined that Roundup was not the cause of his illness,” Bayer said in a statement following the verdict.