Bayer AG has been ordered by a jury in Missouri to pay $1.56 billion to four plaintiffs who claim they developed cancer because of exposure to Roundup weedkiller, a brand Bayer acquired when it purchased Monsanto in 2018. 

The Nov. 17 plaintiff verdict in Cole County, Missouri, which is located approximately two hours from Monsanto’s former headquarters in St. Louis County, marks the fourth consecutive Roundup trial loss for Bayer, which prior to its losing streak in Roundup cases, had successfully defended itself in nine straight Roundup trials, including several that were tried in Missouri. 

The Cole County jury found Bayer’s Monsanto unit liable for negligence, design defects and failure to warn claims, according to Reuters

In a statement, Bayer announced that it has strong arguments to get this latest Roundup trial loss overturned on appeal. 

Three plaintiffs were awarded over $60 million in compensatory damages, collectively, and $500 million each in punitive damages. Valorie Gunther of New York, Jimmy Draeger of Missouri and Daniel Anderson of California were each diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), allegedly because of using Roundup on their respective family properties. The jury also awarded Draeger’s wife, Brenda, $100,000 for emotional harm caused by her husband’s illness. 

The punitive damages may be reduced because it exceeds guidance issued by the U.S. Supreme Court. Nonetheless, Bayer’s top investors may pressure the company to settle more Roundup claims. 

Approximately 50,000 Roundup claims are pending. In 2020, Bayer settled the majority of Roundup claims that had been filed up to that point for $10.9 billion.

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