Bayer Faces $1.56B Verdict in Latest Roundup Trial Loss

A Missouri jury has ordered Bayer to pay $1.56 billion to four plaintiffs who asserted that the company's Roundup weedkiller led to injuries, including cancer.

This verdict may increase investor pressure on Bayer to reconsider its legal strategy. The jury found that Bayer's Monsanto business was responsible for negligence, design defects, and failure to warn about the potential dangers of Roundup.

The plaintiffs from New York and California were granted a total of $61.1 million in compensatory damages and $500 million each in punitive damages. They were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which they claimed resulted from using Roundup on their properties. One plaintiff's wife was awarded $100,000 for the harm she allegedly suffered due to her husband's disease.

The punitive damages might be reduced on appeal as they exceed U.S. Supreme Court guidance. Bayer maintains that decades of studies demonstrate the safety of Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate, for human use.

This verdict marks the fourth consecutive legal loss for Bayer, following nine consecutive trials where the company was found not liable. Earlier, Union Investment, one of Bayer's top 10 shareholders, urged the company to explore settlement options with plaintiffs.

Bayer contends that it has strong arguments to overturn the recent verdicts on appeal. The company argues that courts in these trials allowed plaintiffs to misrepresent the European Union's glyphosate renewal process and the safety assessment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Despite settling most Roundup cases in 2020 for up to $10.9 billion, approximately 50,000 claims remain pending out of around 165,000 claims against Bayer. These claims stem from personal injuries allegedly caused by Roundup, acquired by Bayer through its $63 billion purchase of Monsanto in 2018.

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