(Reuters) – A California choose on Thursday lowered a $2 billion jury verdict, slashing the award for a pair who blamed Bayer AG’s (BAYGn.DE) glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup for his or her most cancers to $86.7 million.
FILE PHOTO: Monsanto Co’s Roundup is proven on the market in Encinitas, California, U.S., June 26, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photograph
Superior Court docket Decide Winifred Smith of the California Superior Court docket in Oakland mentioned the jury’s billion-dollar punitive damages awards had been extreme and unconstitutional, however rejected Bayer’s request to strike the punitive award outright.
Underneath Smith’s closing order, California couple Alva and Alberta Pilliod would obtain roughly $17 million in compensatory and $69 million in punitive damages, down from $55 million and $2 billion, respectively.
The plaintiffs nonetheless must formally settle for the lowered award.
Bayer in an announcement on Thursday mentioned Smith’s determination to slash the award was a step in the fitting route, however added it might file an attraction.
“We proceed to imagine that the decision and harm awards will not be supported by the proof at trial and battle with the intensive physique of dependable science and conclusions of main well being regulators worldwide that confirms glyphosate-based herbicides can be utilized safely and that glyphosate just isn’t carcinogenic,” the corporate mentioned.
Bayer faces Roundup most cancers lawsuits by greater than 13,400 plaintiffs throughout america. The Germany-based firm purchased Roundup maker Monsanto in a $63 billion deal final yr, however has since seen its share worth tumble over the glyphosate litigation.
Plaintiffs allege Roundup causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and that Monsanto for many years tried to affect scientists and regulators to bury most cancers proof. Bayer denies these allegations.
The corporate had requested Smith to strike the punitive damages award within the Pilliods’ case, arguing that a whole lot of research and assessments by regulators worldwide concluded the herbicide to be protected for human use.
However the choose in her Thursday order rejected these arguments.
“On this case there was clear and convincing proof that Monsanto made efforts to impede, discourage, or distort scientific inquiry and the ensuing science,” Smith mentioned.
Bayer to this point has misplaced three U.S. jury trials within the Roundup litigation, with juries in California awarding multi-million greenback awards. It’s interesting the choices.
In August, the corporate is scheduled to face its first trial outdoors California at a courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri. Monsanto has recruited Missouri-based skilled witnesses to make its case in a spot the place it has century-old roots however the place juries usually hit firms with enormous damages.
Reporting by Tina Bellon in New York; Enhancing by Lisa Shumaker