Bayer Monsanto Damages Reduced to $25.27 Million by U.S. Judge
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria announced his ruling in San Francisco on Monday.
Following a four-week trial in March a federal jury awarded $5 million (€4.4 million) in compensatory and $75 million in punitive damages to a man who blamed his cancer on glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup.
Edwin Hardeman was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2014.
Limits on Ratios for Damages
At a hearing to discuss Bayer's request to overturn the verdict earlier this month, Chhabria said, "It's quite clear that under the Constitution I'm required to reduce the punitive damages award and it's just a question of how much."
U.S. Supreme Court rulings limit the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages to 9 to 1.
The judge said he would also take into account the fact that Hardeman was now in full remission and unlikely to suffer as much as he had in the past.
Bayer says Roundup — and its active ingredient glyphosate — are safe for human use and not carcinogenic. However, in 2015 the World Health Organization's cancer arm reached a different conclusion, classifying glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans."
Roundup products for sale in California.
Litigation Hits Share Price
The Leverkusen-based company is facing lawsuits from more than 13,400 plaintiffs in the U.S.
Earlier this year, Bayer CEO Werner Baumann conceded the effect the court cases had had on the share price: "We have lost two cases in lower courts. That is why the company is massively affected. You see it in our share price," he said at an academic business event in Cologne in April. "You see it selectively, mainly here in Germany and in France — less so in the USA — in our reputational scores."
Over the past year, Bayer's share price has dropped dramatically and the company has seen €30 billion (approximately $33.7 billion) wiped off its market value since the first court ruling last August. Its share price has fallen from €96 (approximately $108) in August 2018 to €58.63 (approximately $66) at close of markets in Frankfurt on Monday.
Reposted with permission from our media associate DW.
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By Naomi Larsson
For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.
Biodiversity and Habitat Loss<p>Their near extinction is a symbol of the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/global-biodiversity-outlook-targets-extinction-summit-new-york-pledge/a-54932895" target="_blank">biodiversity crisis</a> in the UK, largely driven by habitat destruction. Britain is now one of the countries with the most <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/future-of-UK-nature#:~:text=The%20UK%20is%20one%20of,than%20half%20are%20in%20decline" target="_blank">depleted nature</a> in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. Half its plant and animal species are in decline and more than <a href="https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/let-nature-sing-wales/#:~:text=a%20natural%20tragedy.-,Over%2040%20million%20birds%20have%20vanished%20from%20UK%20skies%20in,unaware%20of%20the%20impending%20danger" target="_blank">40 million birds</a> have vanished in just half a century.</p><p>"[Turtle doves] are the canary in the [coal] mine because there are all these other species before it and after it," said Tree. "It's an umbrella for all the other species that are heading that way."</p><p>Turtle doves migrate south through Europe to sub-Saharan Africa between July and September, ending up in dry woodland and farmland areas of countries like Mali and Senegal for winter. </p><p>Droughts in West Africa and the Sahel region are believed to have contributed to the fall in turtle dove species recorded in northern Europe, with low rainfall reducing supplies of the seeds and insects the birds rely on for energy for the long journey home.</p>
Conservation and Farming<p><a href="https://www.operationturtledove.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Operation Turtle Dove,</a> a partnership project of charities including the Essex Wildlife trust, works with landowners and farmers to actively build turtle dove habitat.</p><p>Outten works with <a href="https://www.ebws.org.uk/birdsites/blue-house-farm-ewt-north-fambridge" target="_blank">Blue House Farm</a>, a 660-acre nature reserve in the UK county of Essex, where they have replicated weedy fallow plots. </p><p>"We work on it every year to make sure it's in the condition it needs to be with plants such as clovers and black medic," Outten said. "These plants are native to the landscape and produce the seed the birds feed on." </p><p>The birds eat a wide range of seeds from various plants that would have been abundant 50 or 100 years ago, added Guy Anderson, program manager for species recovery with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). </p><p>"But it's simply true that with the gradual process of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/farming-without-pesticides-how-can-we-make-agriculture-greener/a-52216796" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">intensifying our agricultural production</a>, the availability of those seeds has dropped and dropped," said Anderson.</p><p>Part of the project includes supplementary feeding — providing sources of food in the form of seed or grain. Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in England, farmers can receive financial support to create a turtle dove habitat. </p><p>Though they haven't recorded an increase in doves across the sites in the four years of working on the project, Outten said they are seeing improvements in how landowners and farmers manage habitat for the birds. </p>
A Turtle Dove Haven<p>The 3,500-acre Knepp Estate in West Sussex is another project taking a different approach and one of the few places where turtle dove numbers are increasing.</p><p>Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell converted their intensively farmed land into a rewilding project almost 20 years ago. They have let the land return to nature.</p><p>Just one year after they'd finished <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/uks-most-talented-architects-are-not-human/a-35952128" target="_blank">rewilding</a> the southern part of their property, they heard turtle doves for the first time. It's now a breeding hotspot for the birds with an estimated 19 pairs. Knepp is also home to <a href="https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/rewilding/rewilding-projects/knepp-estate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2% of the UK's population</a> of nightingales. </p><p>Tree is critical of supplementary feeding schemes that, in her view, are short term. She questions the chances of turtle doves getting to feed on scattered seeds before other mammals eat them first.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
Green groups applauded Sen. Jeff Merkley on Wednesday for introducing a pioneering pair of bills that aim to "protect the long-term health and well-being of the American people and their economy from the catastrophic effects of climate chaos" by preventing banks and international financial institutions from financing fossil fuels.