Monsanto Asked To Pay US$275mn for Causing Brain Damage to School Kids, Others; Bayer To Challenge the US Jury Verdict
Moneylife Digital Team 17 October 2022
Last week, a jury in Washington state asked Monsanto, a unit of German Bayer AG, to pay around US$275mn (million) to six adults and seven children who blame their illnesses on exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, at the Sky Valley School in Monroe County. Bayer, however, says it plans to legally challenge the verdict. 
According to a report from Bloomberg, the jury found PCBs made by Monsanto were the proximate cause of the plaintiffs' injuries and awarded about US$55mn in compensation and US$220mn in punitive damages.
In a statement, Bayer, the parent of Monsanto, says, "We respectfully disagree with the divided jury verdict reached in this 13-plaintiff case and plan to pursue post-trial motions and appeals based on multiple errors and the lack of proof at trial."
"The undisputed evidence in this case does not support the conclusions that plaintiffs were exposed to unsafe levels of PCBs at the Sky Valley Education Center or that these exposures are responsible for their alleged health issues," it added.
The chemical (PCB) was used in commercial products until Monsanto voluntarily ended production in 1977, says a report from Reuters. "Bayer has since 2020 resolved a majority of cases in litigation with municipalities over wastewater contaminated with PCB for US$650 million but several other claims remained pending."
This is the fifth personal injury case arising from the education centre to go to trial alleging injuries from PCB exposure from fluorescent light ballasts produced by Monsanto's customers and installed at the education center in the late 1960s, the company says.
In a multi-billion dollar deal in 2018, Bayer acquired Monsanto. 
Earlier, in August 2018, the US Supreme Court jury ordered the chemical giant to pay US$289mn to a school groundskeeper who got terminal cancer after using Roundup, one of the world's most popular weed killers.
The Superior Court jury deliberated for two and a half days before finding that Dewayne Johnson's non-Hodgkin lymphoma was at least partly due to using glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Roundup. Johnson regularly used glyphosate to spray fields while working as a groundskeeper, says a report from USAToday.
Monsanto "acted with malice, oppression or fraud and should be punished for its conduct," Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos announced in court.
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