By Brooke Mallory
12:01 PM – Friday, November 17, 2023
Four plaintiffs claimed that Bayer’s Roundup weedkiller caused injuries, including cancer, and a Missouri jury awarded them $1.56 billion. This decision might increase investor pressure on the German pharmaceutical and agricultural chemicals corporation to alter its legal approach.
According to court papers, a jury in Cole County, Missouri, on Friday concluded that Bayer’s Monsanto company was accountable for carelessness, design flaws, and neglecting to notify plaintiffs about the possible risks associated with using Roundup.
The three plaintiffs—Jammy Draeger of Missouri, Daniel Anderson of California, and Valorie Gunther of New York—were given awards totaling $61.1 million, including $500 million in punitive damages. Each received a non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis, which they said was brought on by spraying Roundup on their family’s land. Brenda, Draeger’s wife, received a $100,000 settlement for the alleged injuries she sustained as a result of her husband’s illness.
Since the punitive damages exceed the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court, they may be reduced on appeal.
According to Bayer, glyphosate, the active component in Roundup, has been established through “decades of research to be safe” for human usage.
After nine consecutive trials in which the business was deemed not responsible to plaintiffs, this ruling represents Bayer’s fourth straight setback in court. One of Bayer’s top ten shareholders, Union Investment, urged the company earlier this month to think about reaching out to plaintiffs in an effort to resolve additional disputes.
The first of many victories on behalf of thousands of plaintiffs was declared in a statement by Bart Rankin, a partner at Forrest Weldon, who represented them.
However, in a statement, Bayer stated that it had compelling reasons to get the most recent rulings reversed in an appeal.
It claimed that in the previous legal cases against the corporation, plaintiffs were wrongfully allowed to distort the safety evaluation conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the European Union’s glyphosate renewal procedure.
Following the failure of EU member states to provide a definitive position on the renewal, the European Commission said last week that it will extend its approval of glyphosate based on safety evaluations from the European Food Agency and European Chemicals Agency.
Approximately 165,000 lawsuits have been filed against the company for claims of personal injury brought on by Roundup, which Bayer purchased in 2018 as part of its $63 billion acquisition of the agricultural business Monsanto.
Bayer paid up to $10.9 billion to resolve the majority of the outstanding Roundup lawsuits in 2020. Approximately fifty thousand claims are still outstanding, as per regulatory filings.