Jury Orders Bayer to Pay $81 Million in Second Trial Claiming Roundup Weedkiller Caused Cancer
A jury awarded $81 million in damages to a man who claimed that Roundup, a weedkiller sold by Bayer AG, caused his non-Hodgkins lymphoma, Reuters said Wednesday.
The six-person jury in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco ordered Bayer to pay Edwin Hardeman $75 million in punitive damages and $5.9 million in compensatory damages, along with $200,000 in medical costs. Bayer bought Monsanto, which made and sold Roundup, for $66 billion last year, after which it retired the Monsanto brand.
The award comes one week after the same jury found, following a month-long trial, that Bayer’s Roundup played a substantial role in Hardeman’s cancer. The judge overseeing the case is also handling hundreds of other Roundup lawsuits. In total, Bayer is facing more than 11,200 lawsuits over the use of glyphosate in its products.
“We are disappointed with the jury’s decision, but this verdict does not change the weight of over four decades of extensive science and the conclusions of regulators worldwide that support the safety of our glyphosate-based herbicides and that they are not carcinogenic,” Bayer said in a statement to Fortune. “We have great sympathy for Mr. Hardeman and his family. Bayer stands behind these products and will vigorously defend them.”
The verdict marks the second trial Bayer has lost over Roundup’s health risks. Last August, another jury awarded another plaintiff, a former school groundskeeper named Dewayne Johnson, $289 million in damages. Johnson also claimed that Roundup had a design defect that Monsanto didn’t adequately warn consumer about.
Bayer has long argued its Roundup product doesn’t post a risk to humans, citing studies from independent scientists that have shown it’s safe to use. The jury found that Monsanto acted negligently by designing a defective product and failing to warn consumers about the risk of cancer, Reuters said.
Bayer’s stock, traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, has lost 18.4% of its value since the San Francisco jury issued its first verdict a week ago. Investors are concerned that the loss of the first-two Roundup-related trials could set a template for future cases.
“The verdict in this trial has no impact on future cases and trials, as each one has its own factual and legal circumstances,” Bayer’s statement said. “Bayer will appeal this verdict.”