Bayer AG and its newly required Monsanto asked a California court to throw out the $289 million verdict against it involving its Roundup weed killer or, at the very least, substantially reduce the damages, arguing that the evidence in the case does not support such a massive verdict, Law360 reported.
In August, a jury found that Monsanto’s herbicides Roundup and Ranger Pro contributed to the terminal cancer diagnosis of a school groundskeeper, DeWayne “Lee” Johnson, and that the company did not adequately warn him of the dangers the weed killer posed. The jury awarded $39.25 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages.
Monsanto fought back with two filings to the court on the grounds that “the scientific evidence in this case falls far short of the sufficient and substantial evidence required to sustain this verdict.”
Roundup and Monsanto’s generic version, Ranger Pro, contain the active ingredient glyphosate. The company introduced Roundup in 1974. Since then, it has become one of the most widely used herbicides in the country among landscapers, farmers, and groundskeepers. Monsanto argued that its product has consistently passed safety studies including those required by the Environmental Protection Agency and European authorities.
But during Johnson’s trial, attorneys argued that Monsanto knew since the 1990s that studies had linked the herbicide to cases of lymphoma, yet the company failed to warn the public of these risks. They also paraded in a host of experts including an oncologist, a toxicologist and researcher that discussed the links between glyphosate and lymphoma.
Nonetheless, Monsanto filed two motions to the court, one asking the court to vacate the jury’s verdict altogether and replace it with a ruling from the bench, and the other for an entirely new trial.
Monsanto faces about 8,000 lawsuits over cancer risks with its glyphosate-based herbicides, up from about 5,200 prior to Johnson’s trial.