Frankfurt (Reuters) – Shares in Bayer were down 6.8 percent in early trade on Tuesday after a jury awarded more than $2 billion to a California couple in the largest U.S. jury verdict against the company over allegations its Roundup weed killer causes cancer.
That put the stock at its lowest level in almost seven years, even though the punitive damages award is likely to be reduced due to U.S. Supreme Court rulings that limit the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages to 9:1.
The jury awarded a total of $2 billion in punitive damages and $55 million in compensatory damages, concluding that Roundup – based on herbicide glyphosate – had been defectively designed, and that the company failed to warn of the herbicide’s alleged cancer risk.
Bayer said in a statement on Monday that it was disappointed with the verdict and would appeal. A spokesman called the jury’s decision “excessive and unjustifiable.”
Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Michelle Martin