A California judge on Monday slashed the punitive damages against Bayer AG (BAYRY) that had been awarded by a jury in a lawsuit involving Roundup, a weed killer produced by Monsanto.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos followed up on a tentative ruling she issued earlier in the month, and said that the $250 million in punitive damages would be cut to an amount equal to the $39.25 million in compensatory damages that the jury found appropriate. She also denied Monsanto's request for a new trial, according to published reports.
In the case, former groundskeeper DeWayne Johnson claimed that the company failed to warn him and other users of the danger associated with Roundup.
A jury agreed and awarded him $39 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages on the grounds that the company acted with "malice and oppression."
However, Bolanos said Johnson had failed to demonstrate "clear and convincing evidence of malice or oppression" on the part of Monsanto. The company faces thousands of similar lawsuits. The San Francisco case was among the first to go to trial.
Monsanto was acquired by Bayer in June. Monsanto's best-known brands include Roundup, Acceleron, Asgrow, and DeKalb.