A California judge on Thursday reduced a $2 billion jury verdict for a couple against Bayer AG for causing their cancer by the company’s glyphosate-based weed killer, Roundup, to $86.7 million.
Alva and Alberta Pilliod allege Roundup causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and that Monsanto (now Bayer) for decades tried to influence scientists and regulators to bury cancer evidence. Bayer argued that hundreds of studies and assessments by regulators worldwide concluded the herbicide to be safe for human use.
Superior Court Judge Winifred Smith rejected the company’s arguments: “in this case there was clear and convincing evidence that Monsanto (now Bayer) made efforts to impede, discourage, or distort scientific inquiry and the resulting science.” That said, the court held the jury’s billion-dollar punitive damage awards were excessive and unconstitutional.
In a statement on Friday Pilliod’s lawyer welcomed the decision: “while we believe the reduction in damages does not fairly capture the pain and suffering experienced by Alva and Alberta, the overall result is a big win.”