Bayer-Monsanto Trial: Less penalty - but the court decision remains
by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)
Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos has confirmed the jury's verdict in the Johnson vs. Monsanto case. Thus, the pesticide Roundup is to blame for the cancer of school gardener Dewayne Johnson. The judge also accepted the jury's statement that Monsanto was aware of the cancer risk and had concealed it. Only the associated fine was too high for her and was greatly reduced.
Instead of EUR 250 million to date, Monsanto owner Bayer now has only EUR 68 million to pay. Half of this amount is personal compensation for cancer patient Dewayne Johnson and the other half is a penalty for concealing the risk of cancer. Bayer has announced that it will appeal against the jugdment. Despite the reduced payment, the company failed with its main concern. Bayer had demanded that the judge should declare the jury's verdict as completely unlawful. The stock market reacted immediately to Bayer's failure. The share price fell by ten percent after the court’s decision.
A US court in California made a spectacular decision last week. It sentenced Bayer subsidiary Monsanto to a "compensation for pain and suffering" equivalent to EUR 254 million for a dying cancer patient.
A stock exchange trader told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine that the lawsuit was "a very large risk" that had not yet been priced in: “Uncertainty about the outcome of the glyphosate disputes is likely to weigh on the share price for months to come.” It could even take years if Bayer is not willing to negotiate a settlement and the case goes to the Supreme Court. Law professor David Levine of the University of California told the AP news agency that the judge's decision was only an early piece in a big legal puzzle. Bayer would only consider a settlement if there had been enough judgments against the company. The next proceedings are scheduled for February 2019.