Bayer wants California Judge to Overturn Jury Verdict and $289 Million Damage Award

Wall Street Journal writers Jacob Bunge and Ruth Bender reported last week that, “Bayer AG is stepping up the legal defense of its flagship weedkiller, after a recent verdict in a case alleging the chemical causes cancer sent shares down sharply and raised the prospect of costly plaintiff payouts.

The German company on Tuesday said it wants a California state court judge to overturn the jury’s verdict, order a new trial or reduce damages, according to a court filing. The $289 million award granted in August came in one of the first of thousands of cases filed by gardeners, farmers and others claiming Bayer’s Roundup herbicide gave them cancer.

“The jury in that case ruled unanimously in favor of a former groundskeeper who sought to hold the maker of Roundup liable for his non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The verdict came only two months after the pharmaceutical and chemical conglomerate sealed its takeover of Monsanto, the U.S. agriculture giant that invented the herbicide.”

“Bayer Steps Up Legal Fight Over Weed Killer Blamed for Cancer,” by Jacob Bunge and Ruth Bender. The Wall Street Journal Online (Sept. 19, 2018 ).

The Journal writers explained that, “Legal academics said successful challenges to jury verdicts aren’t uncommon. Last October, another California state judge overturned a $417 million judgment against Johnson & Johnson after a woman alleged that the company’s baby powder contributed to her developing ovarian cancer.

“In January, a judge in Pennsylvania state court overturned a jury’s verdict and $28 million in damages and ruled in Bayer’s favor in a lawsuit alleging the company and Johnson & Johnson didn’t properly warn about internal bleeding risks from the drug Xarelto.”

Last week’s article added, “Bayer has sometimes settled product lawsuits. In 2005, Bayer paid $1.15 billion to settle some 3,000 death and injury claims over the cholesterol-lowering drug Baycol, which it no longer sells.”

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