Roundup Verdicts Continue To Pile Up, With California Jury Awarding $332M Against Bayer, Monsanto
Bayer and Monsanto have lost the third Roundup trial in a row, with a $332 million verdict handed down by a California jury this week, which included another massive punitive damages award that signals the substantial liability the companies may face if they fail to resolve thousands of Roundup lawsuits that continue to make their way through the U.S. courts.
The verdict came in a lawsuit brought by Michael Dennis, a former land surveyor who says he developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma after using Roundup on lawns and gardens for 35 years.
The trial involved similar claims to those presented in more than 120,000 product liability lawsuits filed against Bayer and its Monsanto subsidiary in reach years, each involving allegations that the companies failed to adequately warn about the link between Roundup and NHL, and sold a defectively designed weedkiller.
The litigation began to emerge 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.
Although Bayer has agreed to pay billions in Roundup settlements to resolve individual injury lawsuits over the past few years, Dennis’s complaint is one of several thousand unresolved 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.
A San Diego jury awarded Dennis $7 million in compensatory damages, and another $325 million in punitive damages on Tuesday, which was the third Roundup verdict returned against Bayer and Monsanto within a month. The verdict came days after a Pennsylvania jury awarded a man $175 million for Roundup non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and another $1.25 million verdict in St. Louis in early October.
Jurors in Dennis’s case agreed that Roundup was defectively designed, and that the company failed to warn consumers about Roundup cancer risks.
Bayer has said it intends to appeal the verdict.
While the outcome of Dennis’s lawsuit will not have any binding impact on other claims, it was being 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 litigation.
Most of the U.S. case 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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