California jury rules $2 billion verdict against weedkiller Roundup

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A California jury made an unprecedented $2.055 billion ruling in favor of a married couple who claimed a pesticide made by agrichemical company formerly known as Monsanto caused their cancer.

Alva and Alberta Pilliod filed the case on Aug. 14, 2017, against Monsanto alleging the repeated use of the pesticide Roundup and its key ingredient glyphosate since the 1970s caused their non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The Livermore, Calif. couple were awarded $1 billion each in punitive damages and $55,206,000 in compensatory damages, the Associated Press reported.

Monsanto was bought by pharmaceutical giant Bayer in 2018. In a statement released Monday, Bayer said it was disappointed in the jury’s decision and will appeal the verdict.

“The consensus among leading health regulators worldwide that glyphosate-based products can be used safely and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic, and the 40 years of extensive scientific research on which their favorable conclusions are based,” according to a statement from Bayer.

This decision “conflicts directly” with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s report last month that stated glyphosate has “no risk to public health,” the company said.

“We have great sympathy for Mr. and Mrs. Pilliod, but the evidence, in this case, was clear that both have long histories of illnesses known to be substantial risk factors for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma,” Bayer said.

Legal experts believe the damages will be reduced on appeal, as reported by the Associated Press.

This is the third case to go to trial since August. Two San Francisco juries ordered Monsanto to pay a Sonoma County man $80 million and a former golf course greenskeeper $289 million. The latter amount was reduced to $78 million.

These four plaintiffs are among more than 13,000 others with lawsuits pending against Monsanto around the country.