The US jury claims that Bayer has to pay $ 80 million a man in the Roundup cancer trial


SAN FRANCISCO / NEW YORK (Reuters) – A US jury awarded $ 80 million to a man who claimed that his use of Bayer AG's glyphosate-based fogger has caused his cancer in the last legal joke for the company in the face of thousands of similar lawsuits.

Edwin Hardeman (R), with his lawyers Jennifer Moore (L) and Aimee Wagstaff, speaks to the media, having received over 80 million dollars from a US jury after the Bayer AG Roundup assassin was held responsible. for his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, at the federal court of San Francisco, California, USA, March 27, 2019. REUTERS / Alexandria Sage

The jury of the federal court in San Francisco stated that the company was responsible for Edwin Hardeman's non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

He awarded $ 5 million in damages and $ 75 million in punitive damages to Hardeman after discovering that Roundup was badly designed, that Monsanto did not warn of herbicide cancer risk and that the company acted negligently .

Bayer bought the company Roundup maker Monsanto last year for $ 63 billion.

The company in a statement on Wednesday said it had been disappointed by the jury's decision and would appeal against the verdict.

"This verdict does not change the weight of over four decades of vast science and the conclusions of regulators around the world that support the safety of our glyphosate-based herbicides and which are not carcinogens," said Bayer.

The trial is only the second of over 11,200 Roundup lawsuits destined to be tried in the United States. Previous legal disputes and a verdict from the previous jury against the company precipitated Bayer's actions.

The verdict comes after the same jury, on March 19, found that Roundup was a "substantial factor" in causing Hardeman's cancer, allowing the process to proceed to a second phase to determine responsibility and damages. Bayer's shares fell more than 12 percent after last week's jury found.

In the second phase of the trial, Hardeman's lawyers were able to present previously excluded internal documents that allegedly show the company's efforts to influence scientists and regulators on the safety of the widely used product.

Hardeman's lawyers were seen by a Reuters reporter who was cheering in the elevator outside the courtroom after the verdict was announced.

"As demonstrated throughout the trial, beginning of the Roundup over 40 years ago, Monsanto refuses to act responsibly," Hardeman's lawyers said in a statement, adding that the company instead focused on "manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about Roundup".

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After the verdict, Hardeman told reporters he was "overwhelmed".

"It hasn't penetrated yet," he said.

Hardeman's case was considered a bellwether process to help determine the range of damages and define settlement options for more than 760 other federal cases pending in the same court before the U.S. district judge Vince Chhabria.

In the first test phase of Hardeman's case, the jury ruled for more than four days before finding Roundup responsible for male cancer. On Wednesday, Bayer stated that this indicates that the jurors were "most likely divided on scientific evidence".

The company claimed that its appeal will focus on the legal rulings of Chhabria, which allowed some of Hardeman's scientific experts to testify despite the opinions of the experts of the "faltering" applicants in a sentence of 2018.

But legal experts noted that the ninth Court of the United States Circuit, which oversees the federal court in San Francisco, was generally permissive in allowing expert testimony.

Monsanto's Roundup was the first to contain glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the world. But it is no longer patent protected and many other versions are available. Bayer does not provide sales data for the product.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency, the European Chemicals Agency and other regulators, has discovered that glyphosate is probably not carcinogenic to humans. The cancer arm of the World Health Organization in 2015 reached a different conclusion, classifying glyphosate as "probably a human carcinogen".

In the first U.S. process Roundup, another Californian man received $ 289 million in August after a state court jury found Roundup to have caused his cancer. This award was subsequently reduced to $ 78 million and is on appeal.

Hardeman's case presented a significant difference with respect to that process after Chhabria decided to split the cases into two phases: one to decide causality on purely scientific grounds, the other to determine Bayer's potential liability and damages only if the jury first established that the herbicide was a substantial factor in causing cancer.

PHOTO FILES: Monsanto's Roundup atomizers are on display for sale at a gardening store near Brussels, Belgium, November 27, 2017. REUTERS / Yves Herman / File Photo

That decision was seen as beneficial to Bayer. Legal experts said the jury's verdict in the first phase of the Hardeman case was a significant obstacle, narrowing the company's legal options in the future.

Chhabria has scheduled another war process for May and probably a third trial will take place this year. All three will be divided into phases of causality and responsibility.

Bayer is also expected to face another Roundup trial in the California state court starting March 28 and at least two trials in the Missouri state court in the fall.

Reporting by Alexandria Sage in San Francisco; Written by Tina Bellon in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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