Bayer AG has asked a California judge to overturn a $2 billion jury verdict which found that the company’s Roundup product was responsible for a couple’s cancer. The company, which purchased Monsanto last year, argues that the jury’s decision was not supported by evidence.
“The resulting trial focused not on ascertaining the truth regarding the state of the science, causation, and compliance with legal duties, but instead on vilifying Monsanto in the abstract,” the company said in a motion filed with the court.
Bayer is facing lawsuits related to its Roundup product by more than 13,400 plaintiffs. The company denies allegations that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, causes cancer. Bayer maintains that glyphosate is safe for human use.
In May, the Oakland jury had awarded more than $2 billion to a couple, finding that their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was caused by Roundup. The couple had used the weed killer on their property between 1975 and 2011.
The jury awarded $1 billion in punitive and $18 million in compensatory damages to the husband, and $1 billion in punitive and $37 million in compensatory damages to the wife.
Bayer claims that the punitive damages are excessive and unconstitutional. The punitive damages are likely to be reduced due to Supreme Court rulings that limit the ratio of punitive and compensatory damages to 9:1.
In 2018, another California jury awarded $289 million to a California groundskeeper and found Monsanto’s Roundup caused his cancer. That award was appealed and reduced to $78 million. That award is also being appealed.
Bayer recently announced that it plans to invest $5.6 billion over the next decade in developing new weed killers. The company has also pledged to reduce its environmental footprint by 30% through 2030.
Bayer says that while glyphosate will continue to play an important role in agriculture, the company is committed to offering more choices.