Judge cuts Roundup cancer case payout from $2 billion to $86 million

Judge cuts Roundup cancer case payout from $2 billion to $86 million
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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.

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“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: BLM staff face choice of relocation or resignation as agency moves | Trump says he's 'very much into climate' | EPA rule would expand limits on scientific studies EPA rule proposes to expand limitations on scientific studies Overnight Energy: Fight between EPA watchdog, agency lawyers heats up | Top EPA official under investigation over document destruction | DOJ issues subpoenas to automakers in California emissions pact 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 PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerdueFrom state agriculture departments to Congress: Our farmers need the USMCA Overnight Energy: Trump administration issues plan to reverse limits on logging in Tongass National Forest| Democrats inch closer to issuing subpoenas for Interior, EPA records| Trump's plan to boost ethanol miffs corn groups and the fossil fuel industry Trump administration issues plan to reverse limits on logging in Tongass National Forest MORE said in a statement earlier this year.