A judge in California has reduced the amount a jury awarded a couple who blamed chemicals in the weed-killer Roundup for causing their cancer from $2 billion to $86 million.
Reuters reported Thursday that California Superior Court Judge Winifred Smith found the jury's decision to be excessive and unconstitutional, but refused to throw out the full verdict finding that Roundup manufacturer Monsanto tried to bury scientific studies linking chemicals in Roundup to cancer.
“In this case there was clear and convincing evidence that Monsanto made efforts to impede, discourage, or distort scientific inquiry and the resulting science,” Smith wrote.
Bayer, which owns Monsanto following a $63 billion purchase last year, argued that the ruling was not supported by scientific evidence.
“We continue to believe that the verdict and damage awards are not supported by the evidence at trial and conflict with the extensive body of reliable science and conclusions of leading health regulators worldwide that confirms glyphosate-based herbicides can be used safely and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic,” Bayer told Reuters in a statement.
Alva and Alberta Pilliod, who sued Monsanto after contracting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, will receive about $17 million in compensatory damages, according to Reuters, and $69 million in punitive damages if the verdict holds up through further appeals.
The Department of Agriculture has argued in support of glyphosate, the chemical found in Roundup and targeted by the Pilliods' lawsuit, and EPA Administrator Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Emissions heading toward pre-pandemic levels Former EPA chief to chair pro-Trump think tank's environmental center Lobbying world MORE said earlier this year that the agency "has found no risks to public health from the current registered uses of glyphosate."
“If we are going to feed 10 billion people by 2050, we are going to need all the tools at our disposal, which includes the use the glyphosate,” Secretary of Agriculture Sonny PerdueSonny PerdueOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court rules that pipeline can seize land from New Jersey | Study: EPA underestimated methane emissions from oil and gas development | Kevin McCarthy sets up task forces on climate, other issues The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Georgia election day is finally here; Trump hopes Pence 'comes through for us' to overturn results Civil war between MAGA, GOP establishment could hand Dems total control MORE said in a statement earlier this year.