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German chemical giant Bayer will not appeal a US$20.5M Roundup verdict – the first Roundup cancer lawsuit to proceed to trial – to the Supreme Court, The Recorder reported on 19 March.

The decision would end the litigation brought by Dewayne Johnson against Bayer subsidiary Monsanto. Johnson had alleged that exposure to certain glyphosate-based herbicides, including Roundup, had caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma, The Recorder wrote.

Bayer inherited the lawsuit following its 2018 takeover of global agrochemical firm Monsanto for US$63bn.

A California jury awarded Johnson US$289M in 2018, which was later reduced to US$20.5M on appeal.

The ruling had been followed by a series of lawsuits that have troubled the company since the takeover of Monsanto.

Bayer had said the Johnson case was not suitable for Supreme Court review due to the fact that the judgement had been issued by an intermediate-level state court and the portion dealing with whether federal law pre-empted the state’s duty to warn theory had not been published, which meant it would have no bearing on any case besides Johnson’s, The Recorder wrote.

In October 2020, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had heard arguments on whether to reverse a US$80M Roundup verdict in a case brought by Edwin Hardeman.

Unlike the Johnson case, Bayer had said the Hardeman case was suitable for Supreme Court review because the intermediate federal court was expected to publish a decision addressing the most significant federal questions at issue in the Roundup litigation, The Recorder reported.

Bayer denies claims that Roundup or its active ingredient glyphosate causes cancer, saying decades of independent studies had shown the product is safe for human use.

The product is used by famers in combination with the company’s genetically modified seeds, including soyabeans.