SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A jury of federal courts in San Francisco will determine whether Roundup weed killers caused a California man's cancer in a lawsuit that starts on Monday that the plaintiff's lawyers say could Help Determine
Edwin Hardeman, 70, is the second plaintiff to go to litigation by thousands around the country claiming the agro-industry's giant Monsanto's weed carrier causes cancer.
Monsanto says studies have established that the active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, is safe.
A San Francisco jury in August awarded another man $ 289 million after establishing Roundup, which caused his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. A judge later donated $ 78 million and Monsanto has appealed.
Hardeman's experiment is before another judge and can be more significant. American judge Vince Chhabria oversees hundreds of Roundup lawsuits and has considered the Hardeman case and two other "bellwether trials".
The result of bellwether cases can help lawyers decide to continue to fight similar cases in court or settle them. A jury ruling in favor of Hardeman, and the other test prosecutors would give their lawyers a strong bargaining position in any agreements for the remaining cases before Chhabria, said David Levine, a professor at the University of California, the Hastings College of Law, who has followed Roundup lawsuits.
Thousands of other Roundup lawsuits are being processed by state courts around the country.
Many government regulators have rejected a link between cancer and glyphosate. Monsanto has strongly denied such a connection, as hundreds of studies have established that the chemical is safe.
Monsanto developed glyphosate in the 1970s, and weed killer is now sold in more than 160 countries and widely used in the United States  The herbicide came under increased control following the france-based International Agency for Cancer Research, which is part of the World Health Organization. classified it as a "likely human carcinogen" in 2015.
Legal proceedings against Monsanto followed. Monsanto has attacked the international research agency's opinion as an outlier. The US Environmental Protection Agency says that glyphosate is safe for humans when used in accordance with label directions.
Hardeman began using Roundup products to treat venomous, overgrowth and weeds on his 56-acre Sonoma County estate in the 1980s and continued to use them throughout 2012, according to his lawyers. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2015.
In a setback for Hardeman, Chhabria issued a verdict last month that took over his trials in two phases. Hardeman's lawyers must first convince jury members that his use of Roundup caused his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma before they can put forward arguments for punitive injuries.
The trial is expected to last about one month.