Last year, Bayer AG asked the Supreme Court to review a state court decision that awarded a Roundup weedkiller user $25 million. Now, Bayer is petitioning the nation’s high court to review a Roundup case for the second time.
Bayer’s petition to review the trial of a California couple who were originally awarded $2 billion for claims that they developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup for decades, was filed March 17.
Alva and Alberta Pilliod of Livermore, CA, won at trial against Monsanto in 2019. Their award was later reduced by a trial judge to $86.7 million, but the decision that Monsanto was liable for their non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was upheld by an appeals court and the California Supreme Court.
According to the St. Louis Business Journal, Bayer AG, the parent company of St. Louis-based Monsanto, has resolved approximately 107,000 of 138,000 Roundup claims. Most eligible cases were settled by an $11 billion settlement, while some cases have been deemed ineligible.
Bayer’s 43-page petition argues that the Pilliods’ award is unconstitutional on two counts. First, because they allege that it is “impermissibly high” and, secondly, because they allege that punitive damages were improperly awarded, since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers glyphosate-based herbicides like Roundup safe to use and does not state that they cause cancer.
Bayer’s argument continues that decisions made at the state court level that Roundup should come with a cancer warning are preempted by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, (FIFRA). FIFRA is a federal statute that regulates herbicides, including labeling guidelines. Because no federal regulators have ruled that glyphosate poses a health risk to humans, the lawsuits should be tossed, legal representatives for Bayer maintain.
In December 2021, the Biden administration was asked by the Supreme Court to weigh in on another Roundup trial that Bayer is hoping the high court will review and overturn. That decision awarded California Roundup user Edwin Hardeman $25 million. Bayer is still awaiting the opinion of the U.S. Solicitor General, Elizabeth Prelogar, on whether the Supreme Court should review the case.
Bayer has set aside $4.5 billion for litigation in case the Supreme Court refuses to review both cases or in the event the reviews don’t favor the company. Bayer announced last year that it will reformulate its glyphosate-based herbicides and replace the active ingredient with another compound that has yet to be publicly disclosed.