Judge Slashes $2.25b Bayer Roundup Verdict To $400m

(NewsReady.com) – A jury awarded a Pennsylvania man a $2.25 billion verdict in a lawsuit against Bayer, the parent company of the chemical giant Monsanto. The verdict was for a lawsuit brought by John McKivison, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using the weed killer Roundup for decades. The judge overseeing the case has now dramatically reduced the damages.

A Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas jury originally ordered Bayer to pay $2 billion in punitive damages and $250 million in compensatory damages. The multinational company objected to the verdict, calling it “unconstitutionally excessive” and claimed it “conflicts with the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence” on Roundup. Judge Susan Schulman ruled in favor of some of Bayer’s motions filed after the trial and reduced the punitive damages to $350 million and $50 million.

Bayer released a statement after the judge reduced the verdict, saying the company would continue to appeal the case because “the trial was marred by significant and reversible errors that misled and inflamed the jury.” The company called on Congress to pass legislation that would protect them from more lawsuits in the future.

People have filed approximately 165,000 lawsuits against Bayer in recent years, complaining about health issues they believe are tied to Monsanto products like Roundup. Bayer purchased Monsanto in 2018. While the company has won many of the cases that have gone to trial, it still has billions of judgments against it. McKivison’s case ended a nine-trial winning streak for Bayer.

McKivison’s attorneys, Jason Itkin and Tom Kline, said that they were happy Judge Schulman upheld the verdict that found the company’s weed killer causes cancer. However, they intend to appeal and ask that the entire verdict be reinstated. The attorneys said the judge’s decision to reduce the “jury’s verdict [was] a clear departure from established Pennsylvania law,” and they will be appealing it.

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