Couple With Cancer Awarded $2B in Roundup Lawsuit

Bayer faces shareholder revolt
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2019 12:56 AM CDT
Couple Awarded $2B in Latest Roundup Lawsuit
French activists of Attac stand in front of the Paris headquarters of Bayer AG to protest its production of environment-damaging pesticides, Thursday, March 14, 2019.   (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Bayer lost its third Roundup lawsuit in a row Monday, with the jury awarding a couple an amount that dwarfs the verdicts in the previous two. The California jury awarded Alva and Alberta Pilliod, a couple in their 70s who blame the herbicide for their non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, $1 billion each in punitive damages and $55 million in compensatory damages, the BBC reports. In March, a man was awarded $80 million in a similar case. Last year, a former groundskeeper was awarded $289 million, which was reduced to $78.5 million on appeal. Bayer, which inherited the lawsuits when it bought Monsanto, has around 13,400 other Roundup lawsuits pending, and the heavy losses have caused a 30% drop in its share price and a shareholder revolt, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Investors have urged Bayer—which still insists the product is safe to use—to reach a settlement with plaintiffs, though analysts say efforts will be complicated by the fact that Roundup is still being sold and has no warning label, meaning the pool of plaintiffs blaming the product for cancer could keep expanding, the Journal notes. Lawyers for the Pilliods described the huge award as "historic." The jury saw "internal company documents demonstrating that, from Day 1, Monsanto has never had any interest in finding out whether Roundup is safe," said attorney Brent Wisner. Bayer, arguing that the jury had been presented with "cherry-picked findings" from a small number of studies, said it plans to appeal. (More Roundup stories.)

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