The share price of Bayer (bayry) plummetted Wednesday, following a USA court's decision that its Roundup weedkiller played a substantial role in the development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma by Californian Edwin Hardeman.
The decision in Edwin Hardeman's case is a landmark verdict that could impact hundreds of other similar lawsuits, according to The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom. In Mr Johnson's case, the jury found Monsanto had "acted with malice or oppression" and awarded him US$289 million in damages.
Hardeman claimed that his decades-long use of the weedkiller on his 56-acre Sonoma County property is linked to his diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2015.
"As similar lawsuits mount, the evidence will grow that Roundup is not safe, and that the company has tried to cover it up", Mr Cook added. The verdict was cut to $78.5 million on appeal. The judge split the proceedings into two parts, one focused on whether Roundup contributed to causing cancer, with the second phase examining the company's conduct. "What is clear is that the legacy Monsanto company had insurance in place, standard product litigation insurance", says Liam Condon, Bayer Crop Science chief executive officer. "The day of reckoning for Bayer and its cancer-causing weedkiller is getting closer".
Share prices in today's early Frankfurt trading after the verdict was announced are down 12.46% at 60.90 euros ($69.12) at 11:09 a.m. GMT.
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Activist investor Elliott already holds a stake of less than 3 percent in Bayer, Reuters disclosed past year. On Wednesday, the jury will hear evidence to determine if the company is legally responsible for Hardeman's cancer and if so, how much Hardeman will receive in damages.
Since Bayer's subsidiary, Monsanto, lost in last Aug's trial, investors have been viewing Bayer shares as high-risk stocks which they don't want to include in their portfolios.
Another Roundup trial is scheduled to begin in California state court in Oakland on March 28, involving a couple who claim Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Now the case before the federal district court in San Francisco will enter the second phase of the trial.
After Bayer lost its first US trial over Roundup, Tuesday's decision probably edges the company one step closer to a settlement, according to analysts. Even as more cases are waiting to be heard in U.S. courts, more cancer sufferers are also queuing to file suits against Monsanto. The New York Times reported that they show how Monsanto systematically attempted to discredit scientists and independent scientific research, swayed scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency over its review of glyphosate, and even ghostwrote stories that appeared to be authored by scientists not affiliated with Monsanto. "We feel confident. a jury. will see that Monsanto has committed 40 years of corporate malfeasance", a Hardeman attorney says.