Bayer AG was ordered to pay more than $2 billion in damages to a California couple that claimed they got cancer as a result of using its Roundup weedkiller for about three decades, raising pressure on the company to settle thousands of similar lawsuits.
It’s the largest jury award in the U.S. so far this year and the eighth-largest ever in a product-defect claim, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The verdict prompted some analysts to boost their estimates on the value of a settlement.
Bayer’s third Roundup court loss comes two weeks after shareholders disavowed Chief Executive Officer Werner Baumann at a meeting in Germany, lambasting his handling of the $63 billion Monsanto Co. acquisition. The verdict puts the onus on Bayer to alter its defense course and consider a settlement: litigation concerns have eroded Bayer’s value by more than 40 percent since the deal was sealed in June.