Jury Sides with Monsanto in Laguna Niguel Lymphoma Patient’s PCBs Suit

*Monsanto statement added to the end of this post.

A jury on Tuesday sided with Monsanto in a Laguna Niguel man’s lawsuit that claimed he developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma due to exposure to the synthetic compound polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) made by the Missouri-based corporation.

The Los Angeles Superior Court jury was in its fifth day of deliberations when it voted to reject the negligence/design defect lawsuit brought by 87-year-old retired software developer John Di Costanzo and Marina del Rey filmmaker Roslyn Dauber, 62, City News Service reports.

They claimed Monsanto knew about the dangers of PCBs in the 1930s yet falsely told the public the compound was safe through 1977, when sales halted. Rivers, streams and food humans consume still contain levels of PCBs.

Scott Frieling, the attorney who represented Di Costanzo and Dauber, told jurors Monsanto pumped up sales despite knowing of the toxic consequences and that the corporation failed to conduct testing to determine the long-term effects of exposure.

But Monsanto attorney Anthony Upshaw countered the corporation performed several safety studies concerning the manufacturing of PCBs and that the compound had many positive benefits. These include increasing industrial safety and, when used as insulation, preventing electrical transformers from exploding.

As for Di Costanzo and Dauber, Upshaw contended they had average levels of PCBs in their systems, that the woman’s disease is in remission, and that several other toxins, viruses and exposures could be behind the pair’s lymphoma.

*Monsanto sent the Weekly this statement this morning:

We are pleased with the jury’s finding. The Los Angeles County jury found for Monsanto and against claims that the conduct of the former Monsanto in manufacturing and selling PCBs, a useful product, more than four decades ago was the cause of the plaintiffs’ harms. In 2015 in St. Louis County, Missouri and in 2014 in Los Angeles County, California, two separate juries reached the same conclusion that the former Monsanto Company is not responsible for alleged injuries from the historic sales of PCBs. Between 40 and 80 years ago, the former Monsanto made PCBs, which were sold to sophisticated companies who incorporated them as safety fluids into electrical equipment, into plastics, and into a variety of useful construction and building material products. PCBs served an important fire protection and safety purpose for the electrical and other industries. Monsanto today, and for the last decade, has been focused solely on agriculture. While our involvement in this trial stems from contractual obligations associated with those former businesses, the cases of Ms. Dauber and Mr. DiCostanzo have nothing to do with Monsanto’s business today.

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