Woman Who Blamed Son's Cancer on Pesticide Exposure Settles Suit

Monsanto Charged $2 Billion In Damages For Weed Killer Roundup Cancer Lawsuit

Photo: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Bayer/Monsanto reached a settlement with a Walnut woman who alleged that her son's exposure to the pesticide Roundup was the cause of his rare form of cancer.

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury on Oct. 5 had found that her son Ezra's exposure to Roundup was not a substantial factor in causing his cancer. Judge Daniel J. Buckley was scheduled to hear her lawyers' motion for a new trial on Tuesday when the resolution was announced. No terms were divulged.

Roundup has been blamed for causing non-Hodgkins lymphoma in thousands of people since Bayer bought Roundup's maker, Monsanto, in 2018 for $63 million.

Clark, 42, brought her suit in December 2020. Ezra was 4 years old when he was diagnosed in 2016 with Burkitt's lymphoma, a rare form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He is now 10 years old.

Clark testified her son was often with her in the back yard of their family home on Fuero Drive when she sprayed Roundup. She alleged Bayer/Monsanto did not adequately warn her of the cancer risks of using glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup.

``He got exposed every weekend for a couple of years,'' Fletcher Trammell, one of Clark's lawyers, told jurors during opening statements.

Clark was unaware at the time, but her son was autistic and would commonly cling to her while she was using the herbicide, Trammell said. The boy's autism also made him shun clothing because of sensory processing issues and he commonly wore little more than a diaper, according to Trammell. The exposure ended in 2016 when the boy began vomiting and having 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 sprayed Roundup, did not contract Burkitt's lymphoma.

However, Monsanto attorney Brian Steckloff told jurors the Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans and that is why Roundup can still be bought in stores. He rejected Trammell's argument that the EPA was only concerned with the effects of glyphosate on food and pesticide spraying of crops, arguing that the agency had examined all aspects of its possible effects.

Steckloff also said that children typically do not get cancer from environmental exposure and that Destiny Clark's own family members undermined much of her argument during their deposition testimony, with some saying they did not see anyone spraying Roundup around Ezra.

While Destiny Clark maintains her parents bought her multiple bottles of Roundup a year, her father, Charles Crenshaw, testified that he only bought about two bottles annually, Steckloff said.

Ezra's condition, the most common type of pediatric cancer, was probably 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 after the verdict.

Photo: Getty Images

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