A Missouri court has ordered German chemical giant Bayer to pay US$1.56bn to four claimants who alleged the company’s glyphosate-based Roundup weedkiller caused injuries including cancer, Reuters reported.
In its verdict on 17 November – the latest in a series of lawsuits against the company – the jury found that Bayer’s Monsanto business was liable for claims of negligence, design defects and failing to warn plaintiffs of the potential dangers of using Roundup, according to court documents reported by Reuters on 19 November.
Since buying US agrochemicals company Monsanto – which owned Roundup – for US$63bn in 2018, Bayer has faced a series of court cases.
Valorie Gunther of New York, Jimmy Draeger of Missouri and Daniel Anderson of California were awarded a combined total of US$61.1M in compensatory damages and US$500M each in punitive damages in the latest case, the report said.
Each of the three claimants was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma that they alleged was caused by using Roundup on their family property. In addition, Draeger’s wife Brenda was awarded US$100,000 for the harm she allegedly suffered from her husband’s disease.
The punitive damages could be reduced on appeal as they exceeded US Supreme Court guidance, Reuters wrote.
Bayer, which sells the widely-used Roundup brand, has repeatedly said that decades of studies had shown Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate, were safe for human use.
The verdict was the fourth consecutive court decision against Bayer after the company had been found not liable to claims in nine previous trials, the report said.
In a statement, Bayer said it had strong grounds to get the recent verdicts overturned on appeal.
Its latest appeal is against a US$175M verdict awarded in October by a Philadelphia jury to retired restaurant owner Ernest Caranci, who claimed his non-Hodgkins lymphoma was due to using Roundup in his garden for years, according to a 9 November Agri-Pulse report.
Bayer had settled most Roundup claims against it in 2020 for up to US$10.9bn but around 50,000 Roundup-related cases remained pending, Reuters wrote on 19 November.
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.