The United States District Court for the Northern District of California rejected Bayer AG’s bid for a new trial this month following a California jury’s verdict of $80.27 million to man who blamed Roundup weed killer for causing his cancer. Bayer AG (who purchased Roundup manufacturer Monsanto) sought a new trial following the verdict that included $5.27 million in compensatory damages and $75 million in punitive damages, but U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria denied Bayer’s Motion noting that Monsanto’s conduct was “reprehensible”.
In that same decision, the Judge also reduced punitive damages to $20 million, saying that while Monsanto “deserves to be punished” the higher award was “constitutionally impermissible” because it was nearly 15 times the compensatory damages award. United States Supreme Court decisions typically place a limit the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages at 9 to 1.
While the reduction in punitive damages was a small win for Bayer/Monsanto, the Court has made clear that the jury’s decision on the cause of the Plaintiffs’ cancer stands. This is hardly good news for Bayer AG, with over 13,400 Roundup claims currently pending before Courts throughout the country, alleging that Roundup is unsafe and causes cancer.
If you believe that you have contracted cancer from exposure to Roundup or other herbicide products, you should contact an experienced law firm right away to explore the possibility of a claim.