Missouri Jury Awards Massive $1.56 Billion Verdict in Roundup Cancer Case Against Bayer

COLUMBIA, Missouri — A Missouri jury has ordered pharmaceutical company Bayer to pay a total of $1.56 billion in damages to three individuals who alleged that their cancer was caused by the weed killer Roundup. The plaintiffs, Daniel Anderson of California, Jimmy Draeger of Missouri, and Valorie Gunther of New York, all used Roundup to combat weeds on their properties and later developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which they claimed was a result of their use of the herbicide.

The jury’s decision included $500 million in punitive damages and between $5.6 million and $38 million in compensatory damages for each plaintiff. The jury ruled in favor of the plaintiffs on claims of design defect, failure to warn, and negligence. Brenda Draeger, Jimmy Draeger’s wife, was also awarded $100,000 for damages.

Bayer intends to appeal the verdict, calling the damages “unconstitutionally excessive.” The company stated that it has strong arguments to have the verdict overturned and the damages reduced or eliminated. Bayer pointed out that damages in previous trials were significantly reduced. The company emphasized its commitment to defending the scientific and regulatory evidence in future trials and appeals.

Attorney Bart Rankin, who represented the plaintiffs, expressed little surprise at Bayer’s intention to challenge the punitive damages. Rankin and his colleagues are determined to protect the jury’s award. However, Rankin did not disclose the specific arguments they plan to present in the appeals court.

The ratio of punitive damages to compensatory damages awarded in this case exceeds the guidance provided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Nonetheless, a Missouri appellate court previously upheld punitive damages beyond the single-digit ratio in a wrongful death case. The court justified the 11 to 1 ratio based on the defendants’ reprehensible actions and the goal of deterring similar conduct in the future.

Rankin stated that the high punitive damages awarded in the Roundup case were justified because Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup, was aware of the product’s potential to cause cancer but failed to adequately warn the public.

Bayer maintains that Roundup is safe to use and accuses recent trial courts of allowing plaintiffs to mislead juries. This is the fourth consecutive trial verdict in favor of Roundup plaintiffs.

The substantial damages awarded in this case add to Bayer’s legal challenges related to Roundup. In 2020, the company settled most of its pending Roundup cases for over $10.9 billion. Recent trial losses have put pressure on Bayer to reconsider its legal strategy and explore settlement talks for remaining cases.

In summary, a Missouri jury has ordered Bayer to pay $1.56 billion in damages to three individuals who claimed that their cancer was caused by Roundup. Bayer intends to appeal the verdict, arguing that the damages are excessive. The plaintiffs’ attorney maintains that the high punitive damages were justified given Monsanto’s knowledge of Roundup’s cancer-causing potential. This verdict adds to Bayer’s ongoing legal battles surrounding Roundup.