Glyphosate, a common weedkiller, doesn't have a mechanism that acts on the biology of humans, at least without falling into a tub full of it and drowning, but trial lawyers know science does not matter to a jury, emotion does. And emotionally an agriculture company can come off stiff compared to a couple who used the product for 35 years and then both got non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Then mix in California, where anti-vaccine sentiment leads the nation and the only science we accept is global warming, and it becomes so easy to see why lawyers want to file suit here. And hundreds have been filed, along with 13,000 nationwide. That makes sense. Once a company gets in the news losing one lawsuit, they can lose a lot.  I didn't read about the latest jury damage number from a newspaper, I got it in email, from multiple lawyers sending out press releases advertising they are ready to file a lawsuit if you have something they can blame on Roundup. Efforts have even been underway to link it to celiac disease.

The latest crazy jury result is why they are so excited; a whopping $2 billion in punitive damagers. It will be thrown out, of course, there is no scientific evidence (sorry, International Agency for Research on Cancer statistical correlation fans, that is not science) that it can cause cancer, and an appellate court will determine they couldn't have acted punitively in selling a product every regulatory body has determined is safe, but it will still lead to even more commercials on television asking people who have any disease at all to call them up and talk about going to court against Bayer.

After all, lawyers know if the company loses in the double digits, a mass settlement will happen, and everyone gets paid.

What about the science?  It didn't matter. The couple are in their 70s, and the biggest risk factor for cancer is age, and that risk can be aggravated by autoimmune diseases and obviously previous cancer history and family data. Basically, the only thing about them that was not a higher risk factor for getting cancer was the weedkiller.

It didn't matter, everyone who is going to be on any jury in the U.S. has heard it might cause cancer now. The first lawsuit result, brought by a San Francisco area lawnkeeper who used it sporadically, shocked the science community because over 50,000 farmworkers show no increases in cancer - but that is why hundreds more cases have been filed there. It is easy to win a lawsuit against science when I used to note that some schools there has under 30% of their kids vaccinated. Not 30% unvaccinated, that was the vaccinated rate for some classes. They do believe Science Is A Vast Corporate Conspiracy.

However, that punitive judgment was already reduced to a fraction and in an appeal science matters a lot more than flowery words about cancer victims. If it gets thrown out, the lawyers may be scrambling to settle. But for now, Bayer shareholders continue to smart. It isn't because the product isn't popular. The Wall Street Journal reports that after Costco engaged in the PR stunt of removing it from shelves, other companies have seen double digit increases in sales. 

And anti-science activists, from Organic Consumers Association to the New York University Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, are going to be absolutely giddy about this. It gives them financial fodder for their fundraising efforts, in the former case, and ideological fodder for their war against scientists in the latter.