Bayer ordered to pay $2 bn in Roundup trial
Bayer AG was ordered to pay more than $2 billion in damages to a California couple that claimed they got cancer as a result of using its Roundup weedkiller for about three decades, raising pressure on the company to settle thousands of similar lawsuits.
It’s the largest jury award in the US so far this year and the eighth-largest ever in a product-defect claim, according to data compiled by
Bloomberg. The verdict prompted analysts to boost their estimates on the value of a settlement.
Bayer’s third Roundup court loss comes two weeks after shareholders disavowed chief executive officer Werner Baumann at a meeting in Germany, lambasting his handling of the $63 billion Monsanto Co. acquisition.
The verdict puts the onus on Bayer to alter its defence course and consider a settlement: litigation concerns have eroded Bayer’s value by more than 40% since the deal was sealed in June. The stock declined 2.3% on Tuesday after initially dropping to a seven-year low.
“The company has got to come to the table with a viable plan to resolve these cases, or the losses are going to mount,” Micah Dortch, managing partner at the Potts Law Firm in Dallas who has filed dozens of Roundup cases, said by email. “This outcome should make Monsanto realize the seriousness of these claims and how a jury perceives the evidence.”
Bayer vowed to challenge Monday’s ruling, calling it “excessive and unjustifiable.” Bayer has defended the safety of Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate since inheriting the product from Monsanto.
The verdict “conflicts directly with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s interim registration review decision released just last month,” Bayer said.
“The consensus among leading health regulators worldwide that glyphosatebased products can be used safely and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic.”
Bayer chief executive officer Werner Baumann.