Bayer Denied Further Appeal of Roundup Verdict

26.10.2020 - The California Supreme Court has declined to hear Bayer’s appeal of the first jury verdict against it in a series of cases brought by US plaintiffs charging that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide causes cancer.

The court’s refusal means that the German agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals company has reached the end of the line in the case brought in 2018 by school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson and that it will have little option but to pay $20.4 million in compensation. It could only appeal the judgment to the US Supreme Court, if a question of federal law is determined to be at stake.

Johnson’s case was the first of three jury decisions against Bayer – out of three eventually heard – and it includes a judgment that Monsanto failed to warn consumers of potential health risks associated with the non-selective herbicide.

Apart from agreeing to settle outstanding lawsuits to the tune of $10.9 billion, some of which already has been paid out, the Leverkusen-based group has faced an uphill climb in the litigation it inherited with the $63 billion acquisition of Monsanto in 2018.

The size of the original jury verdicts, subsequently reduced by judges, is seen as a testament to Monsanto’s dwindling popularity in the US since the cancer claims emerged. In the Johnson case’s first instance, the jury awarded the plaintiff $78.5 million.

At the end of last week, a California federal appeals court was set to begin deliberations on Bayer’s appeal of a lower court verdict awarding just over $25 million to Edwin Hardeman, who claimed that spraying the herbicide on his property for nearly three decades led to his non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The third verdict against Bayer-Monsanto saw $86.2 million awarded to a California couple, Alva and Alberta Pilliod, who sprayed Roundup for almost 30 years and since have been diagnosed with cancer.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist