Jury Orders Bayer Monsanto to Pay $332M in Latest Roundup Trial Verdict

A San Diego jury has ordered Bayer, parent company of agrochemical company Monsanto, to pay $332 million to a 51-year-old man who claimed he developed cancer from exposure to the popular herbicide Roundup.

Source: The Southern California Record | Published on November 2, 2023

Bayer order to pay up lawsuit for Roundup

A San Diego jury has ordered Bayer, parent company of agrochemical company Monsanto, to pay $332 million to a 51-year-old man who claimed he developed cancer from exposure to the popular herbicide Roundup.

In a statement released by a spokesperson following the verdict, Bayer pledged to appeal the verdict, saying it would push to “get this unfounded verdict overturned. Further, the company called the $332 million payout ordered by the jury “unconstitutionally excessive.”

The damages award included $7 million in actual damages and $325 million in punitive damages. The company is likely to target the wide disparity between the actual damage award compared to the punitive damages, which are typically awarded as a way of punishing a defendant and to send a statement designed to prevent similar alleged injuries from occurring in the future.

California law does not specifically limit the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded in a lawsuit, no matter what the actual damages. However, a California appeals court in 2021 ruled that under the Constitution’s due process clause, punitive damages may be limited to a 2-to-1 ratio versus actual or compensatory damages.

The verdict came down in favor of plaintiff Mike Dennis, one of thousands of plaintiffs in California courts bringing claims against Monsanto and Bayer over Roundup exposure.

Other plaintiffs have claims pending in other courts across the country, including in St. Louis.

Until recently, Bayer and Monsanto had scored a string of victories at trial over the cancer claims. A Bayer spokesperson noted the company had won 9 of 12 trials to date, which have largely occurred since the company agreed in 2020 to pay $11 billion to settle most claims related to Roundup.

However, in those trial losses, juries have ordered big damages against Bayer Monsanto.

In California, juries earlier ordered the company to pay almost $2.4 billion in damages.

Meanwhile, in St. Louis in late October, a jury sided with a plaintiff, but awarded only $1.25 million.

And on Oct. 27, a jury in Pennsylvania ordered Bayer Monsanto to pay $175 million to an 83-year-old man who claimed Roundup exposure caused him to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The most recent verdict in San Diego County Superior Court concluded a three week trial that began Oct. 9. The jury deliberated on the case for four days before rendering the verdict.

In a statement posted to his page on LinkedIn, attorney Adam Peavy, who was among those representing Dennis in the case, said he “was proud to represent Mike Dennis in this trial. He is our client and friend. Monsanto has been selling chemicals that cause cancer for years. After a long trial, the jury made them pay today. We look forward to seeking Justice (sic) for our next client in a few month (sic).”

In a report published by Courtroom View Network, which streamed live coverage of the trial, Peavy told a reporter he believed the verdict result reflected “new scientific studies allegedly proving a stronger link between ingredients in Roundup like glyphosate and cancer.”

“I think the science on causation has taken a dramatic turn in the last year,” Peavy said in the report published by CVN.

Peavy is of counsel at the firm of Clark Love & Hutson, of Houston, Texas, which represented Dennis.

Attorney Scott Love, of the Clark Love & Hutson firm, argued the case at trial, according to online court dockets.

Bayer Monsanto was represented by attorney Pamela Yates, of the firm of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, of Los Angeles.

In a statement released following the verdict, attorney Brent Wisner, managing partner at Wisner Baum, hailed the verdict.

Wisner did not represent Dennis in the case, but did lead the case that secured a $2 billion verdict against Monsanto in Oakland in 2019.

“Glyphosate’s days are numbered. With two more outstanding jury verdicts in the last few days and the (European Union’s) failure to decide on extending the use of glyphosate for another 10 years, the writing is on the wall,” Wisner said.

He called on Bayer Monsanto to pull Roundup from the market and “work out a global resolution program for the people who have been hurt.”

“More lawsuits are not the solution,” Wisner said.