Bayer has asked a California court to reverse an $86 million verdict. As the world has been watching the case against the Roundup ingredient glyphosate, farmers have been keeping a close eye on the case in particular. As an ingredient used in one of the most widely used herbicide, often hailed as one of the safest weedkillers available, we are following the case to see how it will affect our options as producers in the future.
Bayer filed the 127 page appeal late Friday evening with the California First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco. The company (formerly Monsanto) said, “The jury’s verdicts and the damages awarded cannot be reconciled with either the law or sound science.”
The May verdict, originally a $2 billion pay out to Alberta and Alva Pilliod, was reduced the damages to $86 million by the trial judge.
According to the brief, “A new trial is also required because (1) the trial court abused its discretion by admitting highly inflammatory evidence concerning the falsification of test results by a third-party laboratory, and (2) the trial court proceedings were tainted by pervasive and egregious attorney misconduct.”
In addition to attorney misconduct, Bayer says jurors were persuaded by the 2015 IARC ruling. “Indeed, much of the trial revolved around a determination in 2015 — after all of Plaintiffs’ relevant exposures to Roundup had occurred — by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic” at some unknown dose. IARC is a nongovernmental consortium of scientists which reached the academic conclusion that glyphosate poses a theoretical cancer hazard detached from any real-world determination that glyphosate poses an actual risk to humans based on its use as an active ingredient in herbicides. After IARC announced its conclusions in 2015, international regulators again reevaluated the science and reaffirmed their findings that glyphosate-based herbicides have not been shown to pose a real-world cancer risk.”
In addition to IARC, many regulators worldwide, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have concluded that Roundup is not carcinogenic. Just this January, the EPA reaffirmed the safety of glyphosate.
Bayer stands behind the safety of glyphosate and will continue to vigorously defend its glyphosate-based products. In April of 2019, all 107 Bayer-owned glyphosate safety study reports that were submitted to the European Food Safety Authority as part of the substance authorization process in the European Union are now accessible on Bayer’s dedicated transparency platform.