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Bayer and BASF Ordered to Pay $265 Million to U.S. Peach Farmer in Weedkiller Suit
A jury in Missouri awarded a farmer $265 million in a lawsuit that claimed Bayer and BASF's weedkiller destroyed his peach orchard, as Reuters reported.
The lawsuit is ominous for Bayer, which bought Monsanto in 2018 and now faces nearly 140 similar lawsuits in U.S. courts, plus thousands of other suits that claim health damage from Monsanto's glyphosate-based Roundup.
The jury in U.S. District Court in Cape Girardeau, Missouri awarded peach farmer, Bill Bader, $15 million in actual damages and $250 million in punitive damages, after agreeing with his claim that a herbicide the two German companies produced drifted onto his orchard from nearby farms and irreparably damaged his 1,000 acre peach-tree orchard, according to Reuters.
Bader Farms is one of the largest peach tree farms in Missouri.
As the AP reported, Bader's attorneys argued that dicamba, which is present in herbicides made by Bayer and BASF, is so potent that there was no way for Bader's trees to recover from the exposure. The generous award paves the way for a large spate of lawsuits from farmers who have seen their crops destroyed by inadvertent exposure to dicamba-based products.
Like Roundup, dicamba was developed and distributed by Monsanto. Farmers across the country have claimed that dicamba turns into vapor and drifts for miles when used in certain weather conditions, as Reuters reported. They have alleged that it has destroyed millions of acres of U.S. cropland, according to The Associated Press.
Attorneys for Bayer said they plan to appeal the decision. "We want our customers to know that, as this legal matter continues, we remain steadfast in our commitment to delivering them the effective and sustainable tools they need in the field," Bayer said in a statement, as The Associated Press reported. In court, they argued that Bader Farms trees were damaged by root fungus and bad weather.
The lawyers also claimed that the decision was not based on facts, saying "there was no competent evidence presented which showed that Monsanto's products were present" on the Missouri farm and were responsible for the farmer's losses, according to Bloomberg.
The loss in this trial, which surely opens the door for many more lawsuits, heaps an enormous amount of pressure on Bayer Chief Executive Officer Werner Baumann, who staked his career on the $63 billion takeover of Monsanto. He became the first CEO of a major German company in decades to lose a shareholder confidence vote last spring, as Bloomberg reported.
Dicamba is not a new product. Farmers have been using it for nearly half a century. However, Monsanto developed a dicamba-resistant strain of cotton and soybeans. That opened the door for widespread use of dicamba, which led to complaints from neighboring farms who claimed that their crops were getting killed by the dicamba drift, as The Associated Press reported.
In response to those concerns, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency created tighter restrictions on dicamba usage. Some states have taken additional steps, requiring training and putting in place firm dates dictating when dicamba can and cannot be sprayed, according to The Associated Press.
The legal cases from Monsanto continue to pile up for Bayer. Not only are Roundup and dicamba suits in the pipeline, the company also faces litigation from several cities that claim Monsanto dumped toxic PCBs into waterways, as Bloomberg reported.
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'How Dare You Put Our Lives at Risk': Pennsylvania Democrat Brian Sims Rips GOP Members for 'Coverup' of Positive COVID-19 Tests
Brian Sims, a Democratic representative in the Pennsylvania legislature, ranted in a Facebook Live video that went viral about the hypocrisy of Republican lawmakers who are pushing to reopen the state even though one of their members had a positive COVID-19 test.
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In another reversal of Obama-era regulations, the Trump administration is having the National Park Service rescind a 2015 order that protected bears and wolves within protected lands.
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By Linda Lacina
World Health Organization officials today announced the launch of the WHO Foundation, a legally separate body that will help expand the agency's donor base and allow it to take donations from the general public.
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Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
By Nicholas Joyce
The coronavirus has resulted in stress, anxiety and fear – symptoms that might motivate a person to see a therapist. Because of social distancing, however, in-person sessions are less possible. For many, this has raised the prospect of online therapy. For clients in need of warmth and reassurance, could this work? Studies and my experience suggests it does.
Telehealth Versus Traditional Therapy<p><a href="https://www.cigna.com/hcpemails/telehealth/telehealth-flyer.pdf" target="_blank">Private insurance companies</a> like Cigna and Aetna, have come around; they now provide coverage for what they see as a "legitimate" service. And <a href="https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/american-wells-2019-consumer-survey-finds-majority-of-consumers-open-to-telehealth-adoption-continues-to-grow-300906438.html" target="_blank">surveys show</a> consumers are receptive to telehealth counseling: no driving to an appointment, no searching for a parking space, no worries about childcare while they're away, no need to switch providers if they move, and no problem if the specialist happens to be far away.</p><p>Online therapy opens doors for clients who wouldn't otherwise seek help, <a href="https://www.worldcat.org/title/empirical-examination-of-the-influence-of-personality-gender-role-conflict-and-self-stigma-on-attitudes-and-intentions-to-seek-online-counseling-in-college-students/oclc/941976505" target="_blank">particularly patients</a> who feel stigmatized by therapy or intimidated by a stranger sitting across the room from them. Often, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/1094931041291295" target="_blank">people open up</a> more easily in telehealth sessions. Firsthand accounts have detailed <a href="https://www.romper.com/p/i-tried-online-therapy-for-a-month-this-is-what-happened-13630" target="_blank">positive experiences from consumers</a>.</p>
Overcoming Prejudices About Online Counseling<p>Now COVID-19 is forcing most traditional psychotherapists to adapt their practice to <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/expressive-trauma-integration/202003/covid-19-etherapy-in-times-isolation" target="_blank">online counseling</a>. After experiencing the medium, they are <a href="https://www.wecounsel.com/blog/why-every-therapist-in-private-practice-needs-a-telehealth-option/" target="_blank">overcoming their prejudices</a>. Many will convert some or all of their caseloads to telehealth after the pandemic ends. Most of our clients seem to be good with it: responding to a satisfaction survey, 85% of USF students strongly or somewhat agreed their telehealth experience was comparable to an in-person visit.</p><p>All this allows a continuity of care for clients that before was impossible; there is, however, a caveat. Because of the coronavirus, some of my clients at USF who live out-of-state have moved back home. That means, legally, I can no longer serve them. Even though they are still USF students, my license is valid only in Florida.</p><p>For telehealth to work effectively, our national system of licensing and regulation law needs to adapt. Although the federal government temporarily halted HIPAA regulations to promote telehealth during this time, not all states are allowing out-of-state practice. The coronavirus may not be here forever, but spring break and Christmas holidays always will. We need seamless telehealth across state lines.</p>
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As many parts of the planet continue to open their doors after pandemic closures, a new pest is expected to make its way into the world. After spending more than a decade underground, millions of cicadas are expected to emerge in regions of the southeastern U.S.
Kevin Frayer / Stringer / Getty Images
By Jessica Corbett
Even after the world's largest economies adopted the landmark Paris agreement to tackle the climate crisis in late 2015, governments continued to pour $77 billion a year in public finance into propping up the fossil fuel industry, according to a report released Wednesday.
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Twenty-three states and Washington, DC launched a suit Wednesday to stop the Trump administration rollback of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks.
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