SAN FRANCISCO – A jury in Oakland, California, ordered Bayer’s Monsanto on Monday to pay $2 billion to an elderly couple after finding that their weedkiller glyphosate caused them cancer.
The ruling marks the third verdict against the company in the US on this issue.
The jury’s seven men and five women considered Monsanto’s “Roundup” herbicide, marketed for home gardening, to be a “substantial factor” in the non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas of the couple Alva and Alberta Pilliod.
For this reason, they ordered the current owner of the company, the German multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company Bayer, to pay $1 billion in damages to each of them, plus more than $55 million in compensatory damages for their medical bills and suffering.
“We have great sympathy for Mr. and Mrs. Pilliod, but the evidence in this case was clear that both have long histories of illness known to be substantial risk factors for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL),” the company said in a statement after the sentencing.
“Most NHL has no known cause, and there is not reliable scientific evidence to conclude that glyphosate-based herbicides were the “but for” cause of their illnesses as the jury was required to find in this case,” and “Bayer is disappointed with the jury’s decision and will appeal the verdict in this case, “ the statement adds.
Alva Pilliod, 76, was diagnosed with NHL in his bones in 2011, while his wife, Alberta, 74, was diagnosed with NHL brain cancer in 2015.
The couple had been using Monsanto’s “Roundup” herbicide for some 30 years in the garden of their home in Livermore, California.
This is the third, and by far the largest, verdict against Bayer on Roundup in the US, after last August a San Francisco jury ordered the company to pay $289 million – later reduced by a judge to $89 million – to a gardener and in March another jury in a federal court ordered it to pay $80 million to a man in Sonoma, California.