Judge Orders Roundup Lymphoma Lawsuit Payout of $400M, After Reducing Jury Verdict from $2.25B

Payout comes in a Roundup lawsuit filed by a landscaper diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, finding that Bayer and it's Monsanto unit failed to adequately warn about the risks associated with the weed killer.

A Pennsylvania judge has upheld a jury’s verdict in a Roundup lymphoma lawsuit brought over a landscaper’s development of cancer, but reduce the amount of the damages from $2.25 billion to $400 million, leading both Bayer and the plaintiff to indicate they intend to pursue appeals.

The decision comes after the massive Roundup lawsuit payout was awarded to John McKivison by a jury in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in January 2024, including $250 million in compensatory damages and another $2 billion in punitive damages, which were designed to punish the manufacturers for needlessly endangering customers.

McKivison indicated Roundup exposure at his landscaping job and at his home resulted in the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, presenting evidence that Bayer’s Monsanto unit knew or should have known about the risk, but intentionally withheld information from consumers for decades. The verdict was one of a string of losses for the companies in trials over Roundup exposure, coming on the heels of a $1.5 billion verdict in November, and a slew of other plaintiff victories in recent months.

Roundup Lawsuits

Although Bayer has been hit with several massive jury verdicts, and has paid more than $10 billion in settlements to resolve individual cases, the verdict was the largest returned by a jury to date, and sent a strong signal to the manufacturers, who continue to face thousands of claims being pursued by former users of Roundup nationwide.

Over the past eight years, more than 120,000 Roundup lawsuits have been filed throughout the U.S., each raising similar allegations that users were not adequately warned about the risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from the weed killer, either when using the product in an agricultural setting or around the home.

The litigation emerged in 2015, when the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) decided to classify glyphosate in Roundup as a probable cancer-causing agent. However, even after resolving tens of thousands of cases, Bayer and Monsanto continue to face about 50,000 claims involving plaintiffs who rejected settlement offers, as well as new claims that continue to be filed as former users develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

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Exposure to RoundUp has been linked to an increased risk of developing Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and other cancers. RoundUp cancer lawsuits are being actively investigated.

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Following the McKivison decision, Bayer and Monsanto challenged both the jury’s verdict and the amount awarded to the plaintiff, saying that it was excessive and unfounded by the evidence.

Pennsylvania Judge Susan Schulman upheld the verdict in a June 4 decision, but reduced the amount the companies must pay to $50 million in compensatory damages. Judge Schulman also retained the jury’s decision that Bayer and Monsanto needed to pay punitive damages, though she reduced that amount from $2 billion to $350 million.

Both sides have indicated they intend to appeal the decision, with plaintiffs wanting the full amount restored and Bayer attempting to get the Superior Court of Pennsylvania to throw out the verdict entirely.

While the outcome of this appeal will not have any binding impact on other claims awaiting trial, the case has been closely watched to help gauge how juries in state courts nationwide may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the remaining litigation; and how judges will react to those verdicts.

Most of the U.S. cases are currently pending in Missouri state court, where Monsanto’s U.S. headquarters are located and it remains a major employer.

In addition to the state court litigation, hundreds of claims are currently centralized in the federal court system before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in the Northern District of California, where several large waves of claims are being prepared for remand to different federal district court for trial.

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