Jury orders Bayer to pay $2 billion in third Roundup trial

The trials were the first of an estimated 13,000 lawsuits against Monsanto

The Oakland jury, which awarded each spouse $1 billion in punitive damages in addition to other damages, found that the active ingredient in Roundup - glyphosate - had likely caused the couple's cancer.

It was the third consecutive US jury verdict against the company in litigation over the chemical, which Bayer acquired as part of its $63 billion purchase of Monsanto past year.

"Unlike the first two Monsanto trials, where the judges severely limited the amount of plaintiffs' evidence, we were finally allowed to show a jury the mountain of evidence showing Monsanto's manipulation of science, the media and regulatory agencies to forward their own agenda despite Roundup's severe harm to the animal kingdom and humankind", said attorney Michael Miller, who was co-lead trial counsel along with Wisner.

Bayer released a statement following the jury's decision, vowing to fight back.

The German chemicals giant faces more than 13,400 USA lawsuits over the herbicide's alleged cancer risk.

In addition to the Hardeman and Pilliod cases, a jury in San Francisco previous year initially awarded a man, Dewayne Johnson, $289 million in a case related to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and glyphosate-based products, but the judge later slashed the punitive damages levied against Bayer/Monsanto in that case to $39 million, down from $250 million (and left another $39 million in compensatory damages intact).

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The six-member jury in San Francisco federal civil court unanimously concluded that glyphosate was a "substantial factor" in Sonoma resident Edwin Hardeman's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The three cases are the first to go to trial nationwide among more than 13,000 lawsuits filed in state and federal courts against Monsanto by people who say exposure to Roundup, the world's most widely used herbicide, contributed to their cancer. Alva was diagnosed in 2011; his wife, Alberta, received the same diagnosis four years later.

"The verdict in this trial has no impact on future cases and trials, as each one has its own factual and legal circumstances", the company said. Both are in remission but testified about lasting damage from the cancer.

The lawsuits have battered Bayer's stock since it purchased Monsanto for $63 billion a year ago and Bayer's top managers are facing shareholder discontent.

In March, after the second jury found that Roundup caused cancer, Bayer said that more than 800 studies submitted to EPA, European and other regulators "confirms that these products are safe when used as directed", including a 2018 independent National Cancer Institute-supported long-term study that "found no association between glyphosate-based herbicides and cancer". Alberta was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma brain cancer in 2015.

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