A U.S. federal judge reexamined and reduced a landmark $2 billion jury verdict awarded to a California couple claiming their cancers were caused by exposure to Bayer AG’s Roundup weedkiller. The final verdict was reduced to $86.7 million.
Judge Winifred Smith of the California Superior Court in Oakland ruled that the jury’s original $2 billion verdict as unconstitutional, though refused Bayer’s request for the entire punitive award verdict to be rejected completely. Judge Smith indicated that the evidence presented in the Pilliod’s case convinced the jury that Monsanto made efforts to obstruct and detract scientific reviews and subsequent science.
According to Judge Smith’s final order, plaintiffs Alva and Alberta Pilliod would now receive about $17 million instead of $55 million in compensatory damages and $69 million instead of $2 billion in punitive damages. Bayer plans to file an appeal on Judge Smith’s order, still maintaining that science supports their claims that glyphosate-based herbicides can be used safely by consumers.
Bayer currently faces over 13,000 lawsuits from consumers claiming their cancer diagnoses, like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, were caused by exposure the glyphosate in Roundup weedkiller. Since Bayer bought Monsanto company in 2018 the company’s share price has decreased significantly due to the glyphosate litigation ongoing in the US.
The plaintiffs have not yet formally accepted the reduced awards order, but the Pilliods’ lawyer indicated that the verdict is still a massive win for the Pilliods.
Bellon, Tina. "In Roundup Case, U.S. Judge Cuts $2 Billion Verdict against Bayer…" Reuters. July 25, 2019.