Bayer loses first phase of Roundup trial, now will face liability

Bayer loses first phase of Roundup trial, now will face liability

In this instance, Bayer claimed the jury was overly influenced by the plaintiffs' allegations of corporate misconduct and did not focus on the science.

A jury in federal court in San Francisco has concluded that Roundup weed killer was a substantial factor in a California man's cancer.

The Hardeman's case is considered a landmark trial for hundreds of other plaintiffs in the United States with similar claims, which means the verdict could affect future litigation and other cancer patients and families.

Monsanto was initially ordered to pay $289m to Johnson, who has two young sons and in the end stages of his cancer, before the damages were reduced to $78.5m.

"As similar lawsuits mount, the evidence will grow that Roundup is not safe, and that the company has tried to cover it up", Mr Cook added.

"We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr Hardeman's cancer", the company said.

Bayer, which specializes in producing pharmaceuticals, consumer healthcare products, agricultural chemicals and biotechnology products, inherited the legal battles with its $63 billion acquisition of Monsanto, the US' leading producer of genetically engineered crops.

It was reported in April a year ago that Bayer sold 3.6 per cent stake to Temasek for 3 billion euros at 96.77 euros per share.

On Tuesday, a federal court jury in San Francisco ruled unanimously in a lawsuit against Monsanto. Bayer now faces some 11,000 suits from cancer patients and their families, and its second loss paints a dire picture. Together with its existing holding in Bayer, Temasek would then own about 4 percent in Bayer after the transaction.

The ruling is a blow to Bayer, whose subsidiary Monsanto makes the herbicide.

"It seemed like this trial would go a little bit differently, it would be a little bit more fact-based, little bit more science-based", Berzhanin said. They will be able to present that evidence in the second phase.

Bayer probably assumed settlements of as much as 5 billion euros ($5.7 billion) when assessing the purchase, said Markus Manns, a fund manager at Union Investment, one of Bayer's top 15 shareholders, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Hardeman's lawyers plan to discuss research on the harmful effects of glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, in the second phase of the trial. The jury will also weigh liability and damages.

Germany's Bayer, which bought Monsanto past year, filed an appeal.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says glyphosate is safe for people when used in accordance with label directions. There is an extensive body of research on glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides, including more than 800 rigorous studies submitted to EPA, European, and other regulators in connection with the registration process, that confirms that these products are safe when used as directed.

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