Monsanto Loses Another Roundup Cancer Trial, With Jury Awarding Over $3 Billion

Ann Santiago
Мая 16, 2019

A California jury has awarded a couple more than $2 billion in a verdict against Monsanto, a subsidiary of Bayer.

The jury's verdict on Monday was the third such courtroom loss for Monsanto concerning the chemical, which Bayer acquired as part of its $63bn purchase of the company previous year.

The septuagenarian plaintiffs, Alva and Alberta Pilliod of Livermore, used the weed killer on their property for more than three decades and were diagnosed with the same type of cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, four years apart, according to their attorneys. She says they are unable to enjoy the same activities they participated in before their cancer diagnosis.

In March 2019, a federal jury in California found that Monsanto's Roundup weed killer caused a 70-year old man's cancer.

Bayer announced last month that more than 13,000 lawsuits related to the weedkiller had been launched in the US. Bayer has defended the safety of Roundup's active ingredient glyphosate since inheriting the product from Monsanto. It also seems to fly in the face of a 2016 California Supreme Court ruling that found the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages in successful lawsuits should nearly never exceed nine to one, the AP added.

According to Monday's ruling, Roundup weed killer was liable for causing cancer, while U.S. agrochemical firm Monsanto, acquired by Bayer last June, failed to inform consumers about the potential risks. The company also said it would appeal that decision.

Bayer's spokesman called the latest decision "excessive and unjustifiable", saying that the company would appeal the verdict.

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In a statement, Bayer said it was disappointed with the jury's decision and would appeal the verdict, which it argues was at odds with a recent US Environmental Protection Agency review of glyphosate-based weedkillers.

"They were given an incredibly hard task having to analyze the highly-complex scientific issues in this case", said co-lead trial counsel R. Brent Wisner, of Baum Hedlund Law, in a statement after the verdict. A judge later reduced the award by $200 million.

The stunning verdict came the same day that German chemical giant Bayer admitted that its subsidiary Monsanto could have kept lists of key figures - for or against pesticides - in European countries.

"The verdict in this trial has no impact on future cases and trials, as each one has its own factual and legal circumstances", the company said. "Instead of investing in sound science, they invested millions in attacking science that threatened their business agenda".

The report, by WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer, said glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic to humans". Brent Wisner told the panel his punitive damages request was roughly based on the gross profit of US$892 million recorded in 2017 by Monsanto's agricultural-chemicals division.

The lawsuits have battered Bayer's stock since it purchased Monsanto for $63 billion past year and Bayer's top managers are facing shareholder discontent. At the same time, CEO Werner Baumann insisted that "the acquisition of Monsanto was and remains the right move for Bayer".

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