Bayer AG promised to continue defending its Roundup product after losing a new trial period over the claims that the lawnmower is causing cancer. It indicates that the overwhelming company is not ready to spend thousands of dollars to settle thousands of similar cases.
A jury in the US District Court in San Francisco awarded compensatory damages of $ 5.3 million and punitive damages of $ 75 million to a 70-year-old man who became ill after spraying the herbicide on his property for decades. The verdict on Wednesday 27 March follows a similar decision of a state court last summer and comes as a third test in progress in Oakland, California.
The company will continue to "strongly defend" the herbicide, as it considers it safe, says spokesman Christian Hartel by telephone from Bayer's head office in Leverkusen, Germany. It plans to appeal the last sentence and does not see the government as a harbinger for others because each trial has different factual and legal issues.
Some analysts disagree. "You can't keep trying case by case and continue to lose and say," We're not going to settle, "said Thomas Rohback, a lawyer at Axinn in New York. "The possibility of solving these issues in the mix."
The main component of Roundup, glyphosate, is made at the Monsanto Co. plant in Luling, on the western shore of St. Charles Parish.
Roundup became the German company Leading headaches after buying Monsanto for around $ 63 billion in June, Bayer has lost more than 60 percent of the value since the transaction, and on Thursday, equities fell as much as 3.3 percent to 54.48 euros in Frankfurt, the lowest level in more than six years
The last said Ken, who was resolved, was obtained by Edwin Hardeman, who used the herbicide on his large plot in Sonoma County, about 60 miles north of San Francisco. As with thousands of other consumers sued Bayer, Hardeman claimed that his years of exposure to the chemical caused his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
The jury found that there was a mistake in Roundup that Bayer did not warn about the product's risk and the company was negligent.
Some analysts have appreciated the lawsuit over Roundup, filed by more than 11,200 people in the United States, over $ 5 billion. Rohback said Bayer could pursue a "long game" based on a strategy to continue fighting in the hope of finding any plaintiffs it can beat.
"A new $ 80 million verdict against Bayer over allegations that its weed killer caused a consumer's cancer signals a tough blow to the company in many of the 11,200 cases in the US," said Holly Froum, a legal analyst.
Roundup judgment is the third largest product responsible jury award in the US so far in 2019, according to data prepared by Bloomberg. The biggest such sentence, for $ 151.8 million, was issued by an Alabama jury last year against Ford Motor Co., over an Explorer transition accident.
Bayer will not have the advantage in Oakland as it had in San Francisco. Hardeman's trial was split into two parts, a format that legal experts said, gave the company the best chance of getting rid of the score after losing the first Roundup test last summer, and was eventually ordered to pay $ 78.6 millions in compensation.
Instead, the Oakland trial will allow lawyers to present jury members at the beginning with their tale of Monsanto Co.'s secret campaign to manipulate public opinion and bury evidence of Roundup's cancer risk.
Lawyers in the Hardeman case first sat down for weeks with scientific testimony of deciding whether Roundup was a "major factor" in causing its disease before hearing evidence that Monsanto ghostwrote influential studies and mistakenly leaned on regulators. Bayer opposed scientific studies showing that the herbicide is safe and asserted to the jury that malicious e-mails were taken out of context.
Hardeman sought more than $ 19 million in compensation, including compensation for hospital bills, pain and suffering. His lawyers said the sentence sent a message to Monsanto that it had to change the way it did business. "It speaks volumes that not a Monsanto employee, past or present came to the test to defend Roundup's security or Monsanto's actions," said Aimee Wagstaff and Jennifer Moore in a statement.
Bayer's opponents in Oakland are Alva and Alberta Pilliod, a couple in the 70's who called on a California law that gives planning preference to people who are sick. A school hunter who won the first trial against Bayer in August was on the same law. Bayer also appeals to the August judgment.
If the losses continue to come, Rohback said that Bayer's only reason to continue fighting is if the plaintiff's lawyers make unrealistic claims to settle disputes. "At some point, you don't get much encouragement to move forward with the same approach," he said.
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History by Joel Rosenblatt, Robert Burnson and Tim Loh with contributions from Margaret Cronin Fish and Naomi Kresge.