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Bayer Loses Its Third Glyphosate Weedkiller Appeal

Chintu Das
Chintu Das
Roundup Weed Killer

Bayer has lost its third appeal against U.S. court verdicts awarding damages to consumers blaming their cancers on use of its glyphosate-based weedkillers, leaving the German drugs & pesticides group to pin hopes for legal relief on US Supreme Court.

Late Monday, California appeals court maintained a $86 million jury judgement that found Bayer liable for a couple's cancer after they used Bayer's glyphosate-based Roundup to kill weeds.

Bayer filed an appeal in February 2020, claiming that the judgement could not be reconciled with good research or product approval from the federal environmental regulator.

Since acquiring the brand as part of its $63 billion purchase of Monsanto in 2018, the firm has been besieged by lawsuits relating to Roundup.

"We respectfully disagree with the Court's decision because it is not based on the evidence presented at trial or the law. In this case, Monsanto will evaluate its legal alternatives" Bayer said in a statement.

It restated plans to seek the United States Supreme Court this month to reconsider a similar Roundup case in which Roundup user Edwin Hardeman prevailed.

Last year, Bayer reached an agreement with plaintiffs in principle, but it failed to secure court approval for a separate agreement on how to handle future lawsuits, despite the fact that Bayer intended to keep the product on the market.

It declared an additional litigation provision of $4.5 billion last month to prepare for any unfavourable judgement by the Supreme Court of the United States. This was in addition to the $11.6 billion it had put aside for settlements and litigation in the case.

Bayer aims to substitute glyphosate in weedkillers for the U.S. home market with other active chemicals as one move to limit the legal damage. It will keep selling the herbicide to farmers that rely heavily on it.

"We continue to fully support the safety of Roundup, a view backed by four decades of substantial science and assessments from major health regulators across the world that support its safe usage," Bayer said in a statement released on Tuesday.

A California jury awarded more than $2 billion to Roundup users Alberta and Alva Pilliod on a preliminary verdict in 2019. The damages were later reduced to $86 million by the trial court.

The setback comes after a federal appeals court in May affirmed a $25 million court judgement that found Roundup was to blame for California resident Edwin Hardeman's non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Bayer failed to persuade a California appeals court to overturn a judgement in favour of Dewayne Johnson, a school groundskeeper who claimed Roundup caused his cancer.

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