Cole County Jury Awards $1.6b In Case Challenging Roundup

A Cole County jury has sided with four claimants, including a Missouri couple, who blame a popular herbicide for their illness.  DTN reports that a jury in Jefferson City awarded Jimmy and Brenda Draeger with $500 million in punitive damages, as well as another $61 million in compensation, after the Draegers convinced the jury that Bayer’s glyphosate herbicide Roundup was to blame for their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Two other defendants from out of state were part of the lawsuit and also won damages.

In a statement to DTN, Bayer said that the court erred in allowing plaintiffs to, “misrepresent the worldwide regulatory and scientific support for our products.”  They added that the plaintiffs mischaracterized the approval process for Roundup, noting that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the World Health Organization’s finding that Roundup was probably carcinogenic stood “essentially alone in its determination.” Earlier this month, the Ninth Circuit blocked California from requiring Roundup to bear their Prop 65 warning label.

Since acquiring St Louis-based Monsanto in 2018, Bayer has dealt with about 165,000 claims of damages caused by Roundup.  The German chemical giant said in its most recent quarterly financial report that it had settled or was close to settling 113,000 of those claims, and had set aside $2 billion to cover future claims after a settlement in June 2020.  Several earlier cases in California challenging Roundup saw juries award damages, only for the amount to be significantly reduced on appeal.