Bayer AG’s Monsanto unit on Wednesday received a tentative ruling for a brand new trial on the $250 million in punitive damages awarded by a jury to a groundskeeper who alleged the company’s glyphosate-based weed killers, including Roundup, caused his cancer.
According to a court filing in San Francisco’s Superior Court of California, Judge Suzanne Bolanos was considering whether to grant the company’s motion for a brand new trial on the punitive damages.
The judge’s ruling, granting a brand new trial on the punitive damages, is actually tentative in addition to was being discussed at a court hearing on Wednesday.
Bolanos at the close of the two-hour hearing in front of a packed courtroom said the parties had until Friday to submit their proposed orders in response to her ruling.
California judges often issue tentative rulings, which are then finalized after a hearing with few major improvements.
The Aug. 10 award to Dewayne Johnson included $39 million in compensatory damages. Johnson, whose doctors say he is actually likely to die within the next two years, attended Wednesday’s hearing.
The combined $289 million verdict marked the first decision finding that will Monsanto had failed to warn consumers of the alleged cancer risks posed by glyphosate, the planet’s most widely used weed-killer.
Bayer, which bought Monsanto earlier that will year for $63 billion, faces more than 8,000 similar lawsuits from the United States.
The German company has denied the allegation in addition to has said that will decades of real-world application in addition to scientific studies have shown the chemical to be safe for human use.
Investors have raised concerns over the litigation risk, with Bayer shares falling sharply after the original decision in addition to still trading some 20 percent below their pre-verdict level at 75 euros ($86.53) on Wednesday.
In September 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded a decades-long assessment of glyphosate risks in addition to found that will the chemical was not a likely carcinogen to humans. However, in 2015 the cancer unit of the planet Health Organization classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
On Wednesday, the judge said that will Johnson had failed to meet his burden of producing clear in addition to convincing evidence of malice or oppression by Monsanto, a requirement for allowing a jury to award punitive damages.
Bayer in a statement on Wednesday said the item agreed with Bolanos’ tentative ruling.
“The company continues to believe that will the evidence at trial does not support the verdict in addition to the damage awards,” Bayer said.
yet Michael Miller, a lawyer for Johnson, disagreed.
“We have a jury that will got the item right,” Miller told the court, adding that will the jury had reached a unanimous verdict after careful deliberations, supported by sufficient science.
Monsanto had asked Bolanos in court filings on Sept. 18 to set aside the entire verdict or, from the alternative, reduce the award or grant a brand new trial. The judge is actually still considering all of the company’s motions.
Bolanos throughout the hearing directed sharp questions at Johnson’s lawyers, singling out remarks they made to the jury during trial. Monsanto lawyers said a comment over company executives “popping champagne bottles” if Johnson loses the trial were prejudicial in addition to aimed at inciting jurors.
Johnson’s case, filed in 2016, was fast-tracked for trial due to the severity of his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph system, that will he alleged was caused by years of exposure to Roundup in addition to Ranger Pro, another Monsanto herbicide that will contains glyphosate.