A Philadelphia jury has ordered Bayer to pay $3.5 million to a woman who claimed the company’s Roundup weed killer caused her cancer.

The Dec. 1 verdict was Bayer’s fifth straight defeat in its ongoing Roundup lawsuits. However, the jury award was considerably smaller this time than the previous two months’ verdicts. The last two months featured verdicts totaling over $2 billion, including a $1.56 billion award from a Missouri jury to three individuals in October.

In the Philadelphia case, Kelly Martel claimed that she developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma as a result of exposure to Roundup. Lawyers for Bayer argued Martel’s smoking caused the cancer. The jury split 10-2, awarding her $462,500 in compensation and another $3 million in punitive damages.

In a statement, Bayer said it will appeal the decision.

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Bayer’s Turn of Fate in Roundup Lawsuits

After losing early Roundup lawsuits, Bayer won nine consecutive lawsuits and settled several others for undisclosed amounts. The company’s winning streak hit a wall in October 2023 when it lost five trials in as many weeks.

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” This led to a surge in Roundup lawsuits starting that same year.

In the past, plaintiff lawyers’ arguments focused on glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as a possible cancer-causing chemical. But in recent Roundup lawsuits — including the latest Philadelphia case — they have argued that Roundup contains harmful toxins other than glyphosate, such as formaldehyde and arsenic, that combined can increase the risk of cancer.

However, Bayer has claimed that these toxins are present only in small amounts and that Roundup is safe and does not cause cancer.

Investor Pressure Mounts as Bayer Faces Roundup Lawsuit Fallout

Since Bayer acquired Roundup manufacturer Monsanto in 2018, its market capitalization has fallen to $33 billion, less than half of what it paid for Monsanto. Mounting legal costs have haunted the company since the merger.

The company offered a $10.9 billion settlement to resolve 100,000 Roundup lawsuits in 2020.

Bayer has set aside $6.5 billion to cover expected losses in upcoming Roundup lawsuits. Investors fear it could cost billions more.

Bayer said it faces as many as 52,000 unresolved lawsuits. As of mid-November, 4,329 Roundup lawsuits against the company were part of a federal multidistrict litigation, or MDL. More Roundup trials are scheduled for 2024.

At the same time, the company has been selective in settling the Roundup lawsuits it still faces while following what it calls its “five-point plan to manage and mitigate the risks of Roundup litigation” in the U.S.

The company hopes to have state-based “failure to warn” laws preempted by federal law upon an appeal to the Supreme Court.

“We have progressed in seeking appellate review of our arguments on federal preemption with two cases awaiting decisions [in federal appeals courts],” the company said on its website.