The US Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear a case from the Bayer-owned Monsanto group that sought to challenge lawsuits over its allegedly cancer-causing weedkiller Roundup.
The rejection is a blow to Bayer's attempts to limit the damage from legal payouts over Roundup. Bayer's lawyers had hoped to shut down thousands of lawsuits over the weedkiller, banking on the conservative majority of the court.
Supreme Court justices left in place a $25 million (roughly €24 million) judgment against Monsanto, brought by a California man who developed cancer after using Roundup over a period of decades.
The lawsuit was a test case for thousands of similar lawsuits.
The German company has faced a mixed bag of results in court cases surrounding its weedkiller. It has lost three trials in which claimants were awarded tens of millions of dollars each. But it has also won four similar cases.
And, on Friday, a panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to reexamine its 2020 finding that glyphosate — the key ingredient in Roundup — does not pose a serious health risk and is "not likely" to cause cancer.
After the latest ruling, in a statement to Brownfield, Bayer says it respectfully disagrees with the court's decision because it undermines the ability of companies to rely on actions taken by regulatory agencies. And, several farm groups opposed a solicitor general's brief because it departed from science-based evidence.
Bayer asked the justices to hear an appeal in a case that upheld $25 million in damages to Edwin Hardeman of California who said the product caused his cancer.
The ruling doesn't affect the availability of Roundup for farmers.
The company has put together a plan to manage future litigation and ensure that product is safe and effective for its users.