Judge Reduces Roundup Verdict Against Bayer From $1.5 Billion To $550 Million

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Apr 09, 2024 - 08:15 AM

A judge in Missouri has significantly reduced a jury award against Bayer AG's Monsanto unit, cutting down the punitive damages from a $1.5 billion verdict to about $550 million, according to Fortune

This decision comes amid Monsanto's ongoing legal battles over allegations that its Roundup weedkiller causes cancer. While the judge, Daniel Green, declined Monsanto's request for a new trial or to dismiss the verdict entirely, the reduction in damages provides some financial relief to Bayer.

The company, which acquired Monsanto for $63 billion in 2018, plans to appeal the entire verdict, arguing that the damages are still excessively high.

The original verdict awarded three plaintiffs a combined $61.1 million in actual damages and $500 million each in punitive damages for claims that Roundup use led to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The punitive damages were adjusted to align with Supreme Court guidance, which suggests punitive awards should not exceed 10 times the actual damages.

Fortune reported that Bayer has already allocated up to $16 billion to settle over 100,000 similar cases, and it's now facing a new wave of litigation.

The company has also committed to replacing glyphosate in its U.S. consumer Roundup products with other weed-killing ingredients. The Missouri case, involving plaintiffs from across the U.S., highlights the ongoing controversy and legal challenges surrounding Roundup and its alleged health risks.

“While the court reduced the unconstitutionally excessive damage award, the company believes that the court did not apply the law correctly on damages,” the company commented. 

Jay Utley, a lawyer for the former Roundup users, added: “The judge actually agreed with the plaintiffs’ suggestion the punitive-damages amounts be reduced to nine times their actual damages.” 

He concluded: “The awards align with the evidence of Monsanto’s willful, malicious, and reckless disregard for the safety of consumers and the injuries suffered by these plaintiffs.”