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RoundUp Weed Killer

A California judge reduced a $2 billion Roundup verdict to a fraction of that amount on Thursday, but it’s Monsanto who is gearing up for an appeal.

Why? Because the judge refused to toss out the verdict altogether and, although she reduced the award to $86.7 million, she also found there was “clear and convincing evidence” that Monsanto’s actions were “reprehensible” and showed a “conscious disregard for health.” That finding, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Winifred Smith wrote, sufficiently warranted punitive damages, which she calculated at four times the compensatory damages.

In reaching such a conclusion, Smith rejected Monsanto’s argument that the Roundup case was akin to the $417 million talcum powder verdict against Johnson & Johnson that a California Court of Appeal dismissed earlier this month. In that case, Johnson & Johnson acknowledged the scientific studies on whether its baby powder caused ovarian cancer and “drew a conclusion from that science,” Smith wrote.

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Amanda Bronstad

Amanda Bronstad is the ALM staff reporter covering class actions and mass torts nationwide. She writes the email dispatch Critical Mass. She is based in Los Angeles.

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