Man Awarded $2.25B in Latest Roundup Lawsuit

Bayer calls award 'unconstitutionally excessive'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2024 4:38 PM CST
Bayer Hit With $2.25B Verdict in Roundup Lawsuit
Containers of Roundup are displayed at a store in San Francisco in this 2019 photo.   (AP Photo/Haven Daley, File)

Bayer has been ordered to pay a Pennsylvania man $2.25 billion in a verdict that "sends a clear message that this multi-national corporation needs top to bottom change," the man's lawyers say. A jury awarded the man the sum—which includes $2 billion in damages—after it concluded that the company's Roundup weed killer is "a defective cancer-causing product," lawyers Tom Kline and Jason Itkin said in a statement, per CNN. The plaintiff, 49-year-old John McKivison, said he developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma after using Roundup on his property for two decades, NBC News reports.

The jury also determined that Monsanto, which was acquired by Bayer in 2018, was negligent and "failed to warn about the dangers of the product," the attorneys said. Bayer said it plans to appeal to get the "unconstitutionally excessive damage award eliminated or reduced." The company is still selling Roundup, arguing that a World Health Organization report linking key ingredient glyphosate to cancer is outnumbered by studies showing it is safe, CNN reports. "While we have great sympathy for the plaintiff in this case, we are confident that our products can be used safely and are not carcinogenic, consistent with the assessments of expert regulators worldwide," the company said.

Bayer has now used up around $10 billion of the $16 billion it set aside to resolve Roundup lawsuits. Few of the cases have made it to trial, and Bayer has won most of them, but pressure from shareholders to change its legal strategy is growing after several large verdicts against the company. "At some point there needs to be an endgame," Stanford Law School professor Nora Freeman Engstrom tells Bloomberg. "This drip, drip, drip of billion-dollar verdicts has to be extremely upsetting to Bayer and destabilizing to its bottom line." (Last month, a jury ordered the company to pay $857 million to people who said another Monsanto product caused their illnesses.)

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