June 14, 2024


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Judge reduces Roundup's $2.25 billion judgment for Bayer to $400 million

Judge reduces Roundup's $2.25 billion judgment for Bayer to $400 million

Written by Dietrich Knuth

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday reduced a $2.25 billion U.S. judgment against Bayer to $400 million for a Pennsylvania man who said he developed cancer as a result of exposure to the company's weed killer.

A jury in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas found that John McIveson's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was the result of Roundup being used on yard work at his home for several years, and ordered Bayer to pay $250 million in compensatory damages and $2 billion in punitive damages. .

Judge Susan Shulman granted some of Bayer's post-trial motions to challenge that ruling, reducing compensatory damages to $50 million and punitive damages to $350 million.

Bayer said she will pursue an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, challenging the lower court's decision to allow the jury to hear what she described as misleading and “inflammatory” testimony.

“Although the court's decision reduces unconstitutional excessive compensation, we continue to disagree with the liability judgment ruling, as the trial was marred by significant and reversible errors,” a Bayer spokesman said Tuesday.

Bayer also called for US legislative reform to protect companies whose products comply with federal labeling requirements.

McKeeson's attorneys, Tom Klein and Jason Itkin, said they were pleased Shulman upheld the jury's finding that Roundup causes cancer. But they also intend to appeal, seeking to return the $2.25 billion jury verdict.

“Reducing the amount of the jury verdict is a clear departure from well-established Pennsylvania law that we plan to address on appeal,” Klein and Aitken said in a joint statement.

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Bayer said decades of studies have shown that Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate, are safe for human use.

Roundup is among the most widely used herbicides in the United States, although the company discontinued sales for home use last year.

Bayer has won 14 of the last 20 news trials, but it also suffered a string of losses in late 2023 and early 2024, resulting in judgments of more than $4 billion.

Some of those rulings, like McKivison's, were later reduced, but the cases ended a nine-trial winning streak for Bayer and dashed investors and the company's hopes that the worst of the Roundup litigation would be over.

About 165,000 claims have been filed in the United States against the company for personal injuries allegedly caused by Roundup, which Bayer acquired as part of its $63 billion purchase of US agricultural chemical company Monsanto in 2018. Most of the plaintiffs, like McKivison, allege that the product Causes tachycardia. -Lymphoma.

In 2020, Bayer settled most of its then-pending Roundup cases for $9.6 billion, but failed to obtain a settlement covering future cases. There are still more than 50,000 claims pending.

(Reporting by Dietrich Knuth; Editing by Josie Cao, Richard Zhang and Jerry Doyle)