Judges have left in place a $25 million judgment in favor of a man who says he developed cancer while using Roundup.
The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected Bayer’s request to dismiss lawsuits from customers who claim its weedkiller causes cancer, as the German company seeks to avoid billions of dollars in damages.
Judges rejected an appeal by Bayer on Tuesday and left in place a lower court ruling upholding $25 million in damages awarded to California resident Edwin Hardeman, a user of its Roundup product, who blamed his cancer on glyphosate from the pharmaceutical and chemical giant. weedkillers.
The Supreme Court ruling dealt a blow to Bayer as the company maneuvers to limit its legal liability in thousands of cases. The justices have a second Bayer motion pending on a related issue that they could act on in the coming weeks.
The decision comes after US President Joe Biden’s administration in May urged the court not to hear Bayer’s appeal, reversing the government’s position previously taken under former President Donald Trump.
Roundup-related lawsuits have dogged Bayer since it acquired the brand as part of its $63 billion purchase of agricultural seed and pesticide maker Monsanto in 2018.
The lawsuits against Bayer said the company should have warned customers of the alleged cancer risk.
Bayer lost three trials in which Roundup users received tens of millions of dollars each, while winning four trials. Bayer had pinned its hopes for relief on the conservative-majority Supreme Court, which has a reputation for being pro-business.
Bayer said it “respectfully disagrees” with the court’s decision and that the company is “fully prepared to manage the risk of litigation associated with potential future claims in the United States.”
Bayer had also warned that allowing such claims would hurt innovation in agriculture, health care and other industries.
On Friday, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a 2020 Environmental Protection Agency finding that glyphosate does not pose a serious health risk and is not “not likely” to cause cancer in humans. The appeals court ordered the EPA to reconsider its decision.
Bayer asked the Supreme Court to review the verdict in the Hardeman case, which was upheld by the 9th Circuit in May 2021. Hardeman had regularly used Roundup for 26 years at his Northern California home before being diagnosed with a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. .
Bayer said in its March annual report that it resolved about 107,000 cases out of about 138,000 total cases.
Last year, Bayer set aside $4.5 billion to deal with claims that glyphosate, the weed-killing ingredient in Roundup, causes non-Hodgins lymphoma, a type of cancer. The company had previously taken on nearly $10 billion for previous rounds of litigation.
Bayer plans to replace glyphosate in weed killers for the US residential home garden market with other active ingredients.