Things continue to snowball for Bayer in the California courtrooms - in a ruling today, the company that acquired Monsanto was ordered by a jury to pay $2 billion to a couple who blamed their cancer on the glyphosate-based Roundup weedkiller.
The award to Alva and Alberta Pilliod included $1 billion each in punitive damages and $55 million in compensatory damages for economic and non-economic losses for their non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"The jury saw for themselves internal company documents demonstrating that, from day one, Monsanto has never had any interest in finding out whether Roundup is safe", an attorney for the couple, R. Brent Wisner, said in a statement sent to CBS News.
"Bayer is disappointed with the jury's decision and will appeal the verdict in this case", it said in a statement following Monday's verdict. And last August, a jury awarded $289 million to former school groundskeeper DeWayne Johnson, who also contracted non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that he attributed to the weed killer.
The punitive damages, according to the verdict, were for "malice, oppression or fraud" on Monsanto's part, defined in the jury instructions as including willful and knowing disregard for human safety.
"Unlike the first two Monsanto trials, where the judges severely limited the amount of plaintiffs' evidence, we were finally allowed to show a jury the mountain of evidence showing Monsanto's manipulation of science, the media and regulatory agencies to forward their own agenda despite Roundup's severe harm to the animal kingdom and humankind", Miller said.
"The verdict in this trial has no impact on future cases and trials, as each one has its own factual and legal circumstances", the company said.
They filed their lawsuit in 2017 after being diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and 2015, respectively. Both are in remission but testified about lasting damage from the cancer.
Bayer has seen its stock price plummet 40 percent since it purchased Monsanto previous year for $63 billion.
Plaintiffs in the litigation allege that Monsanto had known about the herbicide's cancer risk for decades, but failed to warn consumers and instead attempted to influence scientists and regulators to receive favorable assessments of its products.
The EPA reaffirmed its position in April, saying that the active ingredient glyphosate found in the weed killer posed "no risks of concern" for people exposed to it by any means.