Syndicated from Kaiser Health News
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco said Monday the higher award was “constitutionally impermissible” because it was nearly 15 times the compensatory damages award. He denied Bayer's request for a new trial. Edwin Hardeman used Roundup for many years starting in the 1980s to treat poison oak and weeds on his property. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014. The company is fighting thousands of lawsuits.
The Associated Press:
US Judge Slashes $80 Million Award In Monsanto Cancer Case
A U.S. judge lowered a jury’s damage award from $80 million to $25 million for a California cancer victim who used Monsanto’s Roundup weed-killer. The San Francisco Chronicle reports Monday that U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said he was required to reduce the punitive damage award because it went beyond constitutional limits set by the U.S. Supreme Court. In March, a jury found that glyphosate was a likely cause of 70-year-old Edwin Hardeman’s diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. (7/15)
The Wall Street Journal:
Judge Cuts $55 Million From $80 Million Roundup Verdict
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said the $75 million in punitive damages awarded to Mr. Hardeman by the six-person jury was excessive compared with the $5.3 million in other damages. The judge said $20 million in punitive damages, or roughly four times the compensatory damages, was more appropriate under U.S. Supreme Court guidelines. “Based on the evidence that came in at trial, Monsanto deserves to be punished,” Judge Chhabria wrote in his Monday ruling. The judge concluded that while the science is still mixed on whether glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the company didn’t seem to care about investigating whether its product may be carcinogenic. (Randazzo, 7/15)
U.S. Judge Slashes Roundup Jury Award To $25.3 Million; Bayer Still Plans To Appeal
Chhabria nonetheless reduced punitive damages to $20 million from $75 million, saying that while Monsanto “deserves to be punished” the higher award was “constitutionally impermissible” because it was nearly 15 times the compensatory damages award. “Monsanto’s conduct, while reprehensible, does not warrant a ratio of that magnitude, particularly in the absence of evidence showing intentional concealment of a known or obvious safety risk,” Chhabria wrote. (Stempel, 7/15)
Bayer Gets Roundup Reprieve As Damages Cut In California
Bayer’s future growth is clouded by thousands of legal cases filed by people who argue Roundup is to blame for their cancer, leading shareholders to question its decision to buy U.S. seed and pesticide giant Monsanto for $63 billion last year. The company hired a high-profile mediator to lead settlement talks last month, though it continues to defend the herbicide as safe. (Rosenblatt, 7/15)
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Some stories produced by Kaiser Health News, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation. Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit health newsroom whose stories appear in news outlets nationwide, is an editorially independent part of the Kaiser Family Foundation.