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Bayer appeals $86 million verdict, citing 'inflammatory and disparaging' claims

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency repeatedly has vouched for the safety of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup
Credit: PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
The logo of German chemicals giant Bayer is seen on flags during the company's annual results press conference on February 28, 2018 in Leverkusen.

ST. LOUIS — Bayer has asked a California appeals court to overturn an $86 million verdict that found Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller caused a couple's cancer.

“The jury’s verdicts and the damages awarded cannot be reconciled with either the law or sound science, and the court should reverse and enter judgment in favor of Monsanto, or in the alternative, order a new trial on all claims,” the company said.

Bayer, which acquired Roundup with its $63 billion purchase of Monsanto Co. in 2018, also argued that the plaintiffs' lawyer repeatedly violated court orders in an attempt to inflame jurors during the trial by making "inflammatory and disparaging comments," including that government agencies affirming the safety of glyphosate would have “blood on their hands."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency repeatedly has vouched for the safety of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup.

The original verdict in April 2018 in favor of the California couple, Alva and Alberta Pilliod, was for $2 billion, later reduced to $86 million by a judge. The Pilliods, who said they sprayed Roundup on their property for more than three decades, contended the weedkiller caused their non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Bayer has lost the only three cases to go to trial, all in California, resulting in a shareholder revolt and a roughly 20% drop of its stock price since the first verdict in August 2018, Reuters reported.

The appeal comes as Bayer is reportedly nearing a settlement involving more than 42,000 Roundup claims, as well as future claims, at a cost in the range of $10 billion.

In St. Louis, a Roundup cancer trial scheduled to resume Feb. 5 was postponed because of the settlement talks.

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