German chemical giant Bayer has been ordered to pay US$175M to a retired restaurant owner who claimed his cancer was due to the company’s Roundup weedkiller, Reuters reported.
In its verdict, a Philadelphia jury found the company liable in the case and the amount awarded to Ernest Caranci included US$25M in compensatory damages and US$150M in punitive damages, the 27 October report said.
In a statement by a Bayer spokesperson, the company described the verdict as “unfounded” and said it was confident it would be able to reduce “this excessive damage award” on appeal.
Caranci’s lawyers said they were pleased with the verdict in a joint statement.
The US court verdict could raise the prospect of more claims against the company, Bloomberg wrote on 30 October.
“There are some really good lawyers getting ready to try a bunch of cases in places like Philadelphia and California that could result in significant verdicts,” Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond professor who teaches about mass-tort law and has followed the five-year litigation, was quoted as saying.
Court documents showed that Bayer was facing multiple cases set for trial in state court in Philadelphia over the next three months, Bloomberg wrote.
In the most recent lawsuit, Caranci had alleged that he developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma as a result of using Roundup in his garden for years, Reuters wrote.
In the week prior to the report, a US$1.25M verdict had been found against the company in a separate Roundup trial.
However, before that, it had won nine consecutive trials over similar claims, the Reuters report said.
Since buying US agrochemicals company Monsanto – which owned Roundup – for US$63bn in 2018, Bayer has faced a series of court cases.
The company, Bayer, which sells the widely-used glyphosate under the Roundup brand, has repeatedly said that decades of studies had shown Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate, were safe for human use.
Bayer settled most Roundup claims against it in 2020 for up to US$10.9bn but still faces around 40,000 Roundup-related cases, Reuters wrote.
The company had been unsuccessful in its appeal to the US Supreme Court to challenge plaintiffs’ ability to sue under state law, the report said.