Bayer was ordered to pay $1.56 billion to four plaintiffs after a Missouri judge ruled that the company’s Roundup weedkiller caused cancer.
A Cole County, Mo., jury found on Friday 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, according to court documents.
Valorie Gunther of New York, Jimmy Draeger of Missouri and Daniel Anderson of California were awarded a combined $61.1 million in compensatory damages and $500 million each in punitive damages.
Each of the plaintiffs was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma that they alleged was caused by using Roundup on their family property.
Draeger’s wife, Brenda, was also awarded $100,000 for the harm she allegedly suffered from her husband’s disease.
The plaintiffs argued that exposure to the glyphosate in Roundup caused the cancer, which typically starts in white blood cells and causes symptoms including enlarged lymph nodes, fatigue, dramatic weight loss, trouble breathing and night sweats, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Roundup, the most widely-used herbicide to kill weeds in the US, reportedly contains 41% glyphosate, which Bayer has repeatedly argued is safe for human use.
“The court’s verdict is not just a triumph of justice; it’s a clarion call to Bayer, making it clear that no entity can escape accountability. This is the first of many victories as we continue to seek justice for thousands of innocent victims,” said Bart Rankin, partner at Forrest Weldon which represented the plaintiffs.
Representatives for Bayer did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
Shares of the German-based drugmaker slifd more than 18% on Monday to their lowest in 12 years.
On Sunday, Bayer announced it had to abort a large late-stage trial testing a new anti-clotting drug due to lack of efficacy, throwing its most promising development project in doubt.
Friday’s verdict was the fourth straight loss in court for Bayer, which has recently doled out more than $500 million in the previous three litigation losses.
The company had been found not liable to plaintiffs in nine consecutive trials before that.
In 2020, Bayer settled most of the then-pending Roundup cases for up to $10.9 billion.
Around 50,000 claims remain pending, according to regulatory filings.
Around 165,000 claims have been made against the company for personal injuries allegedly caused by Roundup, which Bayer acquired as part of its $63 billion purchase of agrochemical company Monsanto in 2018.
That same year marked the first time a lawsuit was filed to go to trial alleging glyphosate causes cancer.
The case involved a California school groundskeeper caused his cancer, and ended in a $250 million payout to the worker, Dewayne Johnson, when a jury found that Monsanto had failed to warn Johnson and other consumers of the cancer risks posed by its weed killers.
With Post wires