A $25 million verdict against Bayer’s Roundup has been upheld by a federal appeals court. The lawsuit alleged that the pesticide caused a California resident to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Bayer’s argument that the lawsuit and others like it should be thrown out due to federal pesticide laws that bar allegations that the company did not disclose cancer risks.
In 2019, a jury awarded Edwin Hardeman two awards: $5 million in compensatory damages and $75 million is punitive damages. The award for punitive damage was reduced to $20 million at a later date. The appeals court upheld the lower payout.
The federal appeals court decision to uphold the verdict is the first linking Roundup and cancer.
"It's a slam dunk for plaintiffs," said Leslie Brueckner, an attorney with Public Justice who worked on Hardeman's appeal. "This proves these claims are viable in the tort system."
Bayer also saw how impactful this decision was, and had previously said that the outcome of this case could "shape how every subsequent Roundup case is litigated.”
Bayer has set aside $9.6 billion to settle 125,000 Roundup claims.
The company is also strategically planning ahead and said it will seek preliminary approval for all future claims to go through a class action. This controversial $2 billion deal would resolve any potential legal claims for consumers and farm workers who have been exposed to the pesticide but have not yet gotten sick.
"The more verdicts against Bayer, the more pressure there is on the company to pull Roundup from the market or agree to a more generous settlement," said professor David Noll with Rutgers Law School.
While those opposed to the proposed deal say it will limit the rights of Roundup users, proponents say it will provide medical exams to monitor health as well as free legal advice. If an individual developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma, they would also be eligible to receive a payout up to $200,000.
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