Latest Update (July 2020):
Bayer loses California appeal of Roundup verdict, damages are reduced
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Jurors Tell Judge: Don’t throw out $289M weed killer cancer verdict
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Jurors who found that agribusiness giant Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer contributed to a school groundskeeper’s cancer are urging a San Francisco judge not to throw out the bulk of their $289 million award in his favor…
Judge Bolanos said last week she is inclined to throw out $250 million in punitive damages in favor of DeWayne Johnson. She is also considering dramatically reducing the remaining award. Her final decision is due by Oct. 22.
Johnson sprayed Roundup and a similar product, Ranger Pro, at his job as a pest control manager at a San Francisco Bay Area school district, according to his attorneys. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014 at age 42.
His lawsuit is among hundreds alleging Roundup caused cancer, but it was the first one to go to trial.
Many government regulators have rejected a link between glyphosate — the active ingredient in Roundup — and cancer. Monsanto has vehemently denied such a connection, saying hundreds of studies have established that glyphosate is safe.
The jury in August determined that Monsanto should have provided a label warning of a potential health hazard.
Bayer gets new trial on punitive damages in $289 million weed-killer case
(Reuters) – Bayer AG’s Monsanto unit has received a tentative ruling granting a new trial on the $250 million in punitive damages awarded by a jury to a groundskeeper who alleged the company’s glyphosate-based weed killers, including Roundup, gave him cancer..
A jury on Aug. 10 found Monsanto failed to warn school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson and other consumers of the cancer risks posed by its weed killers. It awarded $39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages.
California judge mulls new trial in $289M Roundup award
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco judge said Wednesday she is considering tossing out the lion’s share of the $289 million judgment against agribusiness giant Monsanto and ordering a new trial over whether the company’s weed-killer caused a groundskeeper’s cancer.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos didn’t formally rule on any issues after a two-hour hearing to consider Monsanto’s demand to toss out the entire jury verdict in the first of thousands of similar cases across the country to go to trial.
The San Francisco jury in August said Monsanto knew — or should have known — its best-selling Roundup weed-killer causes cancer and hit the company with $250 million in punitive damages, which are designed to punish companies who act recklessly. The jury also awarded DeWayne Johnson $33 million in so-called “pain-and-suffering” damages and $6 million in actual damages.
But Judge Bolanos issued a written tentative ruling ahead of the hearing saying she intended to strike down the punitive damages and schedule a new trial on that issue…
During the hearing, Judge Bolanos also said she was troubled by the $33 million in “non-economic” pain-and-suffering damages the jury awarded. Johnson’s lawyer argued for $1 million a year for the next 33 years. But Monsanto’s lawyers argued that Johnson is expected to live for two more years — an argument that appeared to resonate with Judge Bolanos who mulled out loud about fashioning an order reducing the entire verdict to under $9 million.
Ultimately, Bolanos ordered lawyers to submit written argument by Friday and said she would rule after that…
More details here.
Bayer loses California appeal of Roundup verdict, but damages are reduced
Big Ag/Big Pharma corporation Bayer failed to persuade a California appeals court to overturn a verdict favoring a school groundskeeper who claimed its Roundup weed killer caused his cancer, but reduced the amount of damages by 74% to $20.5 million…
The decision by the California Court of Appeal came after a San Francisco jury had in August 2018 awarded $289.2 million to the plaintiff Dewayne Johnson for his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a sum later cut by the trial judge to $78.5 million…
The Bayer German drugs and pesticides company inherited liability for the lawsuits when it bought Monsanto Co, which had produced Roundup, for $63 billion in 2018…
In its 86-page decision, the appeals court said Johnson offered “abundant” evidence that glyphosate, together with other ingredients in Roundup products, caused his cancer.
But it said the payout must be reduced because California law did not afford damages for a shortened life expectancy.
More details here.