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Originally posted on St. Louis Business Journal by Michael Behrens

A Cole County, Missouri, jury on Friday ordered Bayer to pay $1.56 billion to fourplaintiffs who said the company’s Roundup weedkiller caused their cancer.

The jury found that Bayer’s Monsanto business was liable for claims of negligence,design defects and failing to warn plaintiffs of the potential dangers of using Roundup,Reuters reported.

Valorie Gunther of New York, Jimmy Draeger of Missouri and Daniel Anderson ofCalifornia were awarded a combined $61.1 million in compensatory damages and $500million each in punitive damages, according to the news agency. Each was diagnosedwith non-Hodgkin lymphoma that they alleged was caused by using Roundup on theirfamily property. Draeger’s wife Brenda was awarded $100,000 for the harm she allegedlysuffered from her husband’s disease, it said.

An attorney for the plaintiffs, Bart Rankin of the Forrest Weldon Law Group, said in astatement that “this is the first of many victories as we continue to seek justice forthousands of innocent victims.”

Bayer said in a statement:

“In contrast to prior trials, recent trial courts improperly permitted plaintiffs tomisrepresent the worldwide regulatory and scientific support for our products by falselycharacterizing 

the EU’s reapproval process and EPA’s assessment of glyphosate as safetyconcerns. In fact, the EU Commission just last week re-approved glyphosate for another10 years following positive scientific assessments, and the EPA continues to reaffirm thatglyphosate is not carcinogenic. Additionally, the Ninth Circuit just this month concluded‘IARC stands essentially alone in its determination that glyphosate is probablycarcinogenic to humans, while EPA, OEHHA, and regulators from around the worldconclude that it is not.

“We have strong arguments to get the recent unfounded verdicts overturned. We won 9of the last thirteen trials and the majority of claims in this litigation are resolved. TheCompany remains fully committed to defending the robust scientific and regulatory evidence in future trials and appeals.”

Prior to October, Bayer AG had a string of nine consecutive victories in Roundup trials.Then Oct. 20, a St. Louis Circuit Court jury delivered a $1.25 million verdict in favor ofthe plaintiffin another Roundup lawsuit, followed by the Philadelphia jury’s order Oct.27 that Bayer pay $175 million in damages in a Roundup cancer case, and a San Diego juryon Oct. 31 ordered Bayer to pay $332 million in damages in another Roundup cancerlawsuit in California.

Germany-based Bayer (OTCMKTS: BAYRY) acquired Roundup when it bought St. Louis-based Monsanto in 2018 for $63 billion. The company, which now has its crop sciencedivision based in St. Louis, also acquired Monsanto’s legacy legal woes, including a slewof lawsuits claiming Roundup, whose active ingredient is glyphosate, causes cancer.

In 2020 the company agreed to settle much of the Roundup litigation for $10.9 billion.Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court declined Bayer’s request to throw out Rounduplawsuits, potentially opening the company up to billions of dollars in damages. Bayerpreviously said it had set aside $16 billion to deal with the costs of the litigation.

Of the approximately 154,000 claims from Roundup users that Bayer has faced so far,about 109,000 have been settled or aren’t eligible for various reasons, the company saidin February in its 2022 annual report. The company had previously said it would stopselling glyphosate-based Roundup in the residential market starting this year.

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