It seemed as though Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos was about to overturn the infamous $289 million verdict against Monsanto’s weed killer, glyphosate. The good news is that the San Fransico judge has upheld the ruling. The bad news is that she cut the award down to $78 million.
The compensation damages were set at $39 million and the punitive damage awarded (punishment) by the jury was $250 million. Judge Bolanos cut the punitive damage from $250 million to $39 million, matching compensation damages for a total award of $78 million. Bolanos said punitive damages that are more than seven times the size of the compensatory award are not legally justified. She said the ratio should be 1-to-1. The judge set a December 7th deadline for the plaintiff to accept a total of $78.6 million. Johnson’s spokeswoman, Diana McKinley, says that they are reviewing the decision and are yet to decide. If this award is rejected, Bayer is entitled to a new trial on just the punitive damages, according to the judge. Reportedly, Diana McKinley also said,
Although we believe a reduction in punitive damages was unwarranted and we are weighing the options, we are pleased the court did not disturb the verdict.”
Bayer recently acquired Monsanto. It’s stock fell more than percent in Frankfurt trading yesterday, which is the biggest drop since the Aug. 13 jury verdict.
Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos rejected Bayer’s arguments that the jury didn’t have legal basis to conclude that glyphosate causes cancer. Bayer says it will appeal the August 13th ruling. Bayer is facing another 8,700 plaintiffs who are saying that glyphosate causes cancer.