Couple awarded $2 billion following Roundup cancer claim

A California jury has awarded more than $2 billion to a couple who claimed Bayer AG’s glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused their cancer.

The jury came to its verdict yesterday, Monday, May 13, and according to Reuters, the case is the largest US jury verdict to date against the company in litigation over the chemical.

The jury awarded a total of $2 billion in punitive damages and $55 million in compensatory damages.

Reuters also reported that a spokeswoman for the couple said the Alameda County Superior Court’s jury believed the company was liable for plaintiffs, Alva and Alberta Pilliod, contracting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

It awarded $18 million in compensatory and $1 billion in punitive damages to Alva Pilliod, and $37 million in compensatory and $1 billion in punitive damages to his wife, Alberta Pilliod.

The jury decided Roundup had been defectively designed, that the company failed to warn of the herbicide’s cancer risk and that the company acted negligently.

The German chemicals giant faces more than 13,400 US lawsuits over the herbicide’s alleged cancer risk, according to Reuters.

In a statement, Bayer said it was “disappointed with the verdict and will appeal”. A spokesman called the jury’s decision “excessive and unjustifiable”.

The company said both Alva and Alberta Pilliod had long histories of illnesses known to be substantial risk factors for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to Reuters.

Bayer said: “The contrast between today’s verdict and the US Environmental Protection Agency’s conclusion that there are ‘no risks to public health from the current registered uses of glyphosate’ could not be more stark.”

Concluding, Bayer said that decades of studies by the company and independent scientists have shown glyphosate and Roundup to be safe for human use.