Federal Jury Finds Bayer's Roundup Weed Killer Caused A California Man's Cancer
Mar 21, 2019, 00:58
However, the German company has denied claims that glyphosate or Roundup causes cancer and said it was disappointed with the jury's decision.
The share price of Bayer (bayry) plummetted Wednesday, following a US court's decision that its Roundup weedkiller played a substantial role in the development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma by Californian Edwin Hardeman.
Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, said Tuesday's decision showed that the August jury verdict was not an aberration and that the Hardeman case could be an indication of what may happen in future similar cases. Liability and damages will be decided by the same jury in a second trial phase beginning on Wednesday.
After five days of deliberations over scientific evidence presented during the trial, the jury on Tuesday found Roundup, one of the world's most widely-used weed killers, to be a "substantial factor" in causing Hardeman's cancer. The verdict was later reduced by to US$78 million.
"We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer", Bayer added.
Bayer AG bought Monsanto past year for $63 billion and is now liable for claims against it. "The day of reckoning for Bayer and its cancer-causing weedkiller is getting closer".
Chief executive Werner Baumann said last month the company faced a total of 11,200 USA cases over Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate, a herbicide key to Monsanto's business model that has come in for intense scrutiny around the world.
The unanimous decision by a jury in San Francisco federal court followed another ruling made in August in California.
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Activist investor Elliott already holds a stake of less than 3 percent in Bayer, Reuters disclosed previous year.
The jury will return on Wednesday to decide if Monsanto shall award Hardeman damage payments, and if so, how much.
Another Roundup trial is scheduled to begin in California state court in Oakland on March 28, involving a couple who claim Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
The first was on the state level, when 46-year-old Dewayne Johnson in California received an expedited trial because doctors said his terminal non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was bringing him near death.
Brokerage Warburg lowered its recommendation to "Hold" from "Buy", arguing that the with the renewed setback upcoming glyphosate court cases would remain a drag on the share price. There is an extensive body of research on glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides, including more than 800 rigorous studies submitted to EPA, European, and other regulators in connection with the registration process, that confirms that these products are safe when used as directed.
"Following the state court decision previous year, we saw a huge uptick in local ordinances that would regulate the use of Roundup on playgrounds, schoolyards and public parks", said PIRG's Kara Cook-Schultz, who leads a campaign to ban Roundup.
However, the Environmental Protection Agency released an assessment in 2017 that concluded that glyphosate is not carcinogenic.
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