In one of many consumer lawsuits against Bayer Chemical arguing the (previously Monsanto product) RoundUp weedkiller with glyphosate was responsible for their cancer, a U.S. District judge in San Francisco, California upheld the jury’s recommendation for compensatory damages, while reducing the amount awarded for punitive damages.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria supported the $5.27 million in compensatory damages that a jury awarded Edwin Hardeman who contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014 after years of using RoundUp weedkiller starting in the 1980s to treat poison oak and weeds on his property.
And while the judge also said the jury acted reasonably in awarding punitive damages, he nonetheless reduced punitive damages to $20 million from $75 million, saying that while Monsanto “deserves to be punished” the higher award was “constitutionally impermissible” because it was nearly 15 times the compensatory damages award. (U.S. Supreme Court precedents limit the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages to 9 to 1. )
Hardeman is one of more than 13,400 plaintiffs who have sued Bayer and Monsanto over Roundup, saying the herbicide’s active ingredient, glyphosate, is unsafe.