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Bayer Loses Another Roundup Judgment Appeal

24.11.2021 - Bayer has lost another appeal of one of its three lost Roundup cases. The Supreme Court of the US state of California late last week declined to review the verdict in the trial Pilliod v. Monsanto. The German group, which bought Monsanto in 2018 as the first round of litigation was getting started, petitioned for a review this past September.

This court’s refusal to reopen the Pilliod case followed by three months another California appeals court’s refusal of a bid by Monsanto (represented Bayer, of which it is a group unit), to overturn the trial loss.

The Pilliod case was temporarily concluded in 2019, the year after Bayer bought Monsanto. Here, a jury awarded more than $2 billion to California couple Alva and Alberta Pilliod, who charged that the non-Hodgkin lymphoma both suffer from was caused by their long-term exposure to the Monsanto herbicide. The trial judge later reduced the award to $87 million.

Alva was diagnosed in 2011 with non-Hodgkin lymphoma that his lawyers said spread from his bones to his pelvis and spine, and his wife Alberta was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma brain cancer in 2015. The pair testified that they had started using Roundup on their property around 1980 and used it for more than 30 years.

According to US press reports, the 79-year-old Alva Pilliod remains in remission. His 77-year-old wife, though currently also in remission, reportedly has had multiple recurrences of her cancer and has to be hospitalized frequently.

The appeals court at the time agreed with the Pilliods that Monsanto “failed to conduct adequate studies on glyphosate and Roundup, thus impeding discouraging, or distorting scientific inquiry concerning glyphosate and Roundup.” It added that Monsanto’s conduct repeatedly “evidenced reckless disregard of the health and safety of the multitude of unsuspecting consumers,” which supported the award of punitive damages.

The Leverkusen-based group currently is appealing another Monsanto verdict to the US Supreme Court. The decision to take the case to the nation’s highest court came after a federal appeals court last May upheld a $25 million jury award for the plaintiff in a Roundup case brought by another Californian, Edward Hardeman.

Bayer hopes the justices will uphold its position that federal law supersedes state law as regards warning labels on products such as pesticides. In the Hardeman trial, Bayer’s lawyers rejected the judge’s suggestion that a warning label should have been to the Roundup packaging, as federal law does not mandate it. The group said earlier that it expects the highest court to decide sometime next year whether to hear the case.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist

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