Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Jury orders Bayer to pay more than $2 billion to California couple who claimed Roundup gave them cancer

On Monday a California jury ordered Bayer AG to pay more than $2 billion to a couple who said the Roundup gave them cancer. The verdict is the largest in U.S. history in litigation over glyphosate, the controversial main ingredient in the herbicide.

"It was the third consecutive U.S. jury verdict against the company in litigation over the chemical, which Bayer acquired as part of its $63 billion purchase of Monsanto last year," Tina Bellon reports for Reuters. "Both other jury verdicts also came in California, one in state court and one in federal court." The company faces more than 13,400 similar lawsuits in the U.S.

The jury awarded $55 million in compensatory damages and $2 billion in punitive damages to Alva and Alberta Pilliod, on the grounds that Roundup was defectively designed and that the company acted negligently in failing to warn consumers about the risks. "The large punitive damages award is likely to be reduced due to U.S. Supreme Court rulings that limit the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages to 9:1," Bellon reports.

Bayer argued that glyphosate has been studied for decades and found not to be carcinogenic, and said the Pilliods were both at high risk for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma because of other illnesses they had. The company said it will appeal the decision.

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