Judge berates Monsanto lawyer over brief in Roundup cancer appeal
A California appellate judge chastised a lawyer for Monsanto on Tuesday for misleading the court about the evidence at hand for Roundup’s potential for causing cancer in humans, Courthouse News reports.
First Appellate District Justice J. Anthony Kline told David Axelrad, attorney for Monsanto, that his presentation of evidence in briefs leading up to Tuesday’s hearing amounted to a “distortion of facts.”
“I’m rather astonished at the briefing in this case,” Kline said at the beginning of the hearing. He told Axelrad that he was seriously considering a motion filed by the plaintiffs to toss the appeal because of distortions in the brief.
But Axelrad said Monsanto is not acting with malice or using trickery or deception and is instead advocating a well-supported position that the used herbicide glyphosate — the main ingredient in RoundUp — is safe for consumer use.
“There is no evidence of an attempt to conceal information,” Axelrad said. “And there is no evidence that would support and clear and convincing basis for the awarding of punitive damages.”
The case pits a Livermore, California, couple, Alva and Alberta Pilliod, who attributed their cancer diagnoses to years of Roundup use. A jury awarded them $2 billion in damages last year, but a judge slashed the award to about $11 million for Alva and $6 million for Alberta.