Good Law | Bad Law #127 - Scientific Evidence and the RoundUp Cancer Trial w/ Dr. Ed Cheng

Aaron Freiwald, Managing Partner of Freiwald Law and host of the weekly podcast, Good Law | Bad Law, is joined by Vanderbilt Law Professor Dr. Edward Cheng, to discuss the ins and outs of the Monsanto RoundUp litigation.


Once thought of as the “billion-dollar baby” of one of the largest chemical companies in the world, the ubiquitous weed killer RoundUp has recently been found to directly cause cancer after a jury unanimously decided in a federal court case. Dr. Cheng and Aaron breakdown the case and talk specifically about the complex scientific questions that had to be answered throughout the trial, the questions of scientific evidence that these presented, and the broader implications that these challenges may have.


With a Ph.D. in statistics from Columbia and a law degree from Harvard, Dr. Cheng is an expert on the intersection between law and science. His research and teaching focus on the issues of evidence and science in the court room. How do experts interreact with the court? How do lay people make decisions that need to be based on specialized understanding and expertise?  


At one point in time RoundUp was probably in everyone’s garage or garden shed. It was a staple lawn care item. But this week at jury ordered the chemical giant to pay $80 million after they found the weed killer caused a man’s cancer. Listen in to find out more on the case and to get Dr. Cheng’s expert opinion. To learn more about Dr. Cheng and the intersection between law, stats, and science check out his podcast, Excited Utterance.


Host: Aaron Freiwald

Guest: Ed Cheng