Bayer is increasing efforts to defend Roundup, its flagship weed killer. A Dow Jones report says the effort follows a recent verdict in a California court case alleging that the chemical causes cancer sent shares sharply lower.
According to the company’s court filing, Bayer wants a California judge to overturn the jury verdict, order a new trial, or reduce the damages. The company is looking to overturn a $289 million dollar jury award in August. It’s the first of thousands of cases filed by farmers, gardeners, and others who claim Bayer’s Roundup herbicide caused their cancer. The jury reached a unanimous verdict in awarding the damage amount to a California groundskeeper who claimed that frequent use of Roundup caused his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The verdict came just two months after Bayer completed its acquisition of Monsanto, who invented the herbicide.
Bayer shares have fallen 22 percent to record-lows that haven’t been seen in five years. The Dow Jones report says business insiders are questioning whether Bayer underestimated the risks of acquiring Monsanto because of the pending lawsuits. Bayer now faces 8,700 plaintiffs in the U.S. alone, a number the company expects will only get larger.