A jury on Monday May 13th ordered agribusiness giant Monsanto Co to pay a combined $2.055 billion to a couple who claimed that the company's popular weed killer Roundup Ready caused their cancers.
The jury's verdict is the third such courtroom loss for Monsanto in California since August, but a San Francisco law professor said it is likely a trial judge or appellate court will significantly reduce the punitive damage award, AP has reported.
The state court jury in Oakland concluded that Monsanto's weed killer caused the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma Alva Pilliod and Alberta Pilliod each contracted. Jurors awarded them each $1 billion in punitive damages in addition to a combined $55 million in compensatory damages.
A federal jury in San Francisco ordered the weed killer maker in March to pay a Sonoma County man $80 million. A San Francisco jury last August awarded $289 million to a former golf course greens keeper who blamed his cancer on Monsanto's Roundup Ready herbicide. A judge later reduced the award by $200 million.
The three California trials were the first of an estimated 13,000 plaintiffs with pending lawsuits against Monsanto across the country to go to trial. St Louis-based Monsanto is owned by the German chemical giant Bayer AG.