Monsanto has been ordered to pay some $80 million to an American retiree who blames his cancer on the agribusiness giant's weedkiller Roundup, in a case that could influence the outcome of thousands more like it.
A San Francisco jury Wednesday found the firm, which is owned by Bayer, had been "negligent by not using reasonable care" to warn of the risks of its product, ordering it to pay Edwin Hardeman $75 million in punitive damages, a little over $5 million in compensation and $200,000 for medical expenses.
It was the second stinging legal verdict for Monsanto in recent months after it lost a case to a California school groundskeeper suffering from terminal non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and was ordered to pay out tens of millions of dollars.
The jury also found that Roundup's design was defective and that the product lacked sufficient warnings of potential risk.
The same jury had previously found in an earlier part of the trial that a quarter century exposure to Roundup, whose principal ingredient is controversial chemical glyphosate, was a "substantial factor" in giving the 70-year-old Hardeman non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
The decision also marks a major setback for Bayer, which purchased Monsanto in June 2018 for $63 billion.
In Frankfurt yesterday, Bayer's share price fell 1.14 percent to 55.69 euros by 0830 GMT -- extending losses as Bayer has seen its market value shrink by 46 percent since it bought Monsanto.
The company, which is facing thousands more similar lawsuits in the United States, said it would appeal the verdict even though it sympathized with Hardeman's plight.
Hardeman's attorneys, who cheered and hugged their client as the verdict was announced, described the decision by the six-member jury as historic and said it sends a clear message to Monsanto that it needs to change its business practices.
The case is one of more than 11,200 similar cases in the US alone involving Roundup.