Damages Reduced in Third Roundup Verdict
The award reduced last week by Judge Winifred Smith of the California Superior Court in Oakland was the largest payout so far, totaling more than $2 billion. Alva and Alberta Pilliod are now due to receive altogether $86.7 million in compensatory and punitive damages from Bayer, as Smith said the initial award was “excessive and unconstitutional.”
The German group called the third reduction “a step in the right direction” as it had the first two. However, said it it continues to believe that the verdict and damage awards conflict with the “extensive body of reliable science and conclusions of leading health regulators worldwide” that glyphosate-based herbicides can be used safely and that glyphosate per se is not carcinogenic
Rejecting Bayer’s arguments, the judge said there was “clear and convincing evidence that Monsanto made efforts to impede, discourage, or distort scientific inquiry and the resulting science,” Smith also rejected Bayer’s call for the judgment to be reversed.
While the couple will be required to formally accept the reduced awards, their lawyer called the overall result “a big win, even if it does not fairly capture the pain and suffering they experienced.”
The Pillod case was the third of three Monsanto trials Bayer has dealt with so far – with all of the plaintiffs alleging that Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It is appealing all of them, with more than 13,000 still pending.
In the first case to come to trial, in 2018, school groundskeeper DeWayne Johnson was initially awarded $289 million. A judge later reduced the sum to $78 million. Earlier in July, Judge Vincent Chhabria cut a damage payment to another California man, Edward Hardeman, from $80 million to $25.3 million.
A fourth trial is scheduled to begin early next month in Monsanto’s US home base of St. Louis, Missouri. This will be the first outside California. According to reports, Monsanto has recruited Missouri-based “expert witnesses” to make its case in a place where it has century-old roots but where juries often hit companies with huge damages.