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Couple awarded $2b in Monsanto cancer case
From:www.chinadaily.com | Date Add in:2019-05-15 15:01:07 [A  A]

A California jury on Monday ordered agribusiness giant Monsanto Co to pay more than $2 billion to a couple claiming that the company's popular weed killer Roundup Ready caused their cancers, The Associated Press reported.

The jury's verdict is the third such courtroom loss for Monsanto in California since August, but a San Francisco law professor said it's likely a trial judge or appellate court will significantly reduce the punitive damage award.

The state court jury in Oakland concluded that Monsanto's weed killer caused the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma Alva Pilliod and Alberta Pilliod each contracted. Jurors awarded them each $1 billion in punitive damages in addition to a combined $55 million in compensatory damages.

Alberta Pilliod, 76, said after the verdict that she and her husband, Alva, have each been battling cancer for the last nine years. She says they are unable to enjoy the same activities they participated in before their cancer diagnosis.

"It changed our lives forever," she said. "We couldn't do things we used to be able to do, and we really resent them for that."

One of the Pilliods' lawyers, Michael Miller, conceded that the $2 billion punitive damage award was likely to be reduced on appeal, but said the couple is prepared for a long legal battle.

A federal jury in San Francisco ordered Monsanto in March to pay a Sonoma County man $80 million. A San Francisco jury in August awarded $289 million to a former golf course greenskeeper who also blamed his cancer on exposure to Roundup Ready. A judge later reduced the award by $200 million.

The three California trials were the first to go to trial, but there are an estimated 13,400 plaintiffs with pending lawsuits against Monsanto across the country, according to Reuters. St. Louis-based Monsanto is owned by the German chemical giant Bayer A.G.

Bayer said on Monday that it would appeal the verdict.

"The verdict in this trial has no impact on future cases and trials, as each one has its own factual and legal circumstances," the company said.

The company noted that none of the California verdicts has been considered by an appeals court and that the US Environmental Protection Agency considers the weed killer safe.

The lawsuits have battered Bayer's stock since it purchased Monsanto for $63 billion last year and Bayer's top managers are facing shareholder discontent.

Chairman Werner Wenning told shareholders at Bayer's annual general meeting in Bonn last month that company leaders "very much regret" falls in its share price. At the same time, CEO Werner Baumann insisted that "the acquisition of Monsanto was and remains the right move for Bayer".

 
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