Bayer Files Appeal of $2 Billion Roundup Award
Bayer has begun the appeals process in hopes of voiding the California verdict that awarded more than $2 billion last month to a couple who said Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide was responsible for their Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The German group, which acquired Monsanto last year for $63 billion and with it inherited some 14,000 lawsuits, argues that the jury’s decision was not supported by evidence. In motions filed in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland, California, it blamed the verdict on “inflammatory, fabricated and irrelevant evidence” from the couple’s lawyers.
“The resulting trial focused not on ascertaining the truth regarding the state of the science, causation and compliance with legal duties, but instead on vilifying Monsanto in the abstract,” the group said, asking Superior Court Judge Winifred Smith – who heard the case in a seven-week trial – to reverse the jury’s decision and enter judgment in its favor or, alternatively, order a new trial.
Alva and Alberta Pilliod testified that they used Roundup to kill weeds on their property between 1975 and 2011. Alva Pilliod received $18 million in compensatory and $1 billion in punitive damages, his wife Alberta $37 million in compensatory and $1 billion in punitive damages.
In court filings seen by the news agency Reuters, the Leverkusen-based group, which is now the agrochemicals industry’s biggest player, called the punitive damages “excessive and unconstitutional.” US news reports said the punitive damages award is likely to be reduced in any case, due to US Supreme Court rulings that limit the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages to 9:1.
Lawyers for the Pilliods said Monsanto is using “the same worn out arguments it unsuccessfully used in the first trial,” which last year awarded $289 million to California groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson. A judge later reduced this to $78 million.
Bayer has said it plans to appeal all of the three judgments.
In jury trials to date it has not won a case. In March this year, a federal jury in San Francisco, California, awarded $80 million to another Non-Hodgkin lymphoma sufferer, Edward Hardeman.