Monsanto Thrown Into Chaos by $289 Million Glyphosate Ruling

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Having closed the Monsanto takeover, Bayer is only awaiting some final antitrust-related asset sales before folding it into its own organization.

The verdict against Monsanto, which Bayer acquired in June for $63 billion, has placed a dark cloud over its parent company's shares.

After three days of deliberation, the jury at San Francisco's Superior Court in California ruled that Monsanto failed to warn users of it's product about the cancer risks and ordered the company pay the plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson, $289 million in restitution. Sign-up now and enjoy one (1) week free access! California added glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer.

As part of California law, when plaintiffs are at risk of dying, cases can be accelerated through the judicial system; as a result, Johnson's case is the first of many similar cases to actually go to a jury trial.

The company immediately said it would appeal against the decision and tried to reassure consumers - including those using Roundup elsewhere - that its weedkiller was safe.

On Friday, Monsanto was found guilty in a lawsuit that alleged Roundup, a glyphosate-based herbacide, causes cancer.

Analyst Michael Leacock of the European financial services firm MainFirst said the uncertainties surrounding further claims against Monsanto were likely to have a long-term impact on Bayer's shares. Monsanto genetically engineered the DNA of corn, soybeans and other crops to make them resistant to Roundup; it now makes more revenue from seeds and traits than it does from herbicide.

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He worked for a school district near San Francisco, spraying herbicides on weeds for several hours a day.

He was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, and in July 2017, after chemotherapy and other treatments, his oncologist gave him six months to live.

"Monsanto made a choice to not put a cancer warning on the label", Mr Wisner said.

Monsanto argues the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not consider glyphosate as a cancer causing chemical, there are hundreds of studies spanning decades that also show the safety of their product, and there was no evidence that the cancer was contracted after spraying glyphosate.

"They're going to appeal, and we're going to have to see what happens then", said Ulrich Huwald, an analyst with Warburg Research in Hamburg.

Australia's National Farmers' Federation has rejected the finding of a U.S. court that the weedkiller Roundup causes cancer, saying it set a "reckless precedent" that could harm agriculture. "As the northern Germans say, 'In court and on the high seas, you're in God's hands'".

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