Economy

Jury orders Bayer to pay $2 billion in third Roundup trial

Jury orders Bayer to pay $2 billion in third Roundup trial”

A jury ordered agribusiness giant Monsanto Co, which is owned by German chemical firm Bayer, to pay the sum to the couple, who claimed the company's popular weed killer Roundup Ready caused their cancers.

The award to Alva and Alberta Pilliod included $1 billion each in punitive damages and $55 million in compensatory damages for economic and non-economic losses for their non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Michael Miller, another attorney for the couple, noted that the judge in this case permitted the legal team to present significant evidence about Monsanto's conduct, in contrast to previous trials, where evidence was severely limited.

Bayer released a statement following the jury's decision, vowing to fight back.

"The cloud hanging over Bayer will only grow bigger and darker, as more juries hear how Monsanto manipulated its own research, colluded with regulators and intimidated scientists to keep secret the cancer risks from glyphosate", said EWG President Ken Cook.

And, in August 2018, another California jury awarded groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson - the first to take on Monsanto - $289 million in state court, after a jury found Roundup caused his cancer.

In March, a federal jury awarded a total of $80 million to Edwin Hardeman, who also alleged his Roundup use caused his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

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The punitive damages, according to the verdict, were for "malice, oppression or fraud" on Monsanto's part, defined in the jury instructions as including willful and knowing disregard for human safety.

Alva Pilliod and wife Alberta of Livermore, both in their 70s, were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2011 and 2015, respectively.

Hardeman's lawyers said the elderly man developed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma after using Roundup to spray his properties for nearly three decades.

More than 13,000 similar lawsuits have been filed against the company.

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. The company insists the glyphosate-based product is not linked to cancer. Both of them are now in remission, but their trial had been expedited due to the risk of a relapse and potentially short life expectancy.

The EPA reaffirmed its position in April, saying that the active ingredient glyphosate found in the weed killer posed "no risks of concern" for people exposed to it by any means - on farms, in yards and along roadsides, or as residue left on food crops.



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