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Judge cuts $2 billion award for couple with cancer to $86.7 million in Roundup lawsuit

Bayer categorically denies Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate, cause cancer, and maintains that both are safe for human use.
Bayer categorically denies Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate, cause cancer, and maintains that both are safe for human use.Haven Daley/Associated Pres/File/Associated Press

A judge slashed 95 percent off a $2 billion judgment awarded a California couple who developed cancer after using Roundup weed-killer.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Winifred Smith cut the couple’s damages to $86.7 million Thursday on the basis that the $2 billion an Oakland jury had awarded them in May had vastly exceeded legal precedent. It’s the third time in less than a year that Bayer AG has successfully and significantly reduced jury awards to plaintiffs who’ve blamed the world’s most widely used herbicide for their cancer. Bayer is appealing, or plans to appeal, all verdicts.

Last June, when Bayer acquired Monsanto for $63 billion to create the world’s biggest seed and agrochemical company, it inherited a mountain of legal trouble tied to Roundup: More than 13,000 lawsuits have been filed in the United States, and the numbers keep climbing.

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Bayer categorically denies Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate, cause cancer, and maintains that both are safe for human use. Since the Monsanto acquisition, Bayer’s value has fallen roughly 45 percent.