Leverkusen / Ludwigshafen (dpa) - A US jury has sentenced the agricultural chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer and the chemical company BASF to millions of dollars in damages in the legal dispute over the weed killer Dicamba.
In total, the two companies are expected to pay peach farmer Bill Bader from Missouri $ 265 million. This is divided into 15 million damages and an additional $ 250 million in punitive damages. The jury's decision was made on Saturday.
Bader accuses Bayer and BASF of having suffered crop losses through the use of dicamba in neighboring fields, as parts of the weed killer are said to have been blown onto his plantations. He estimated the damage to be $ 21 million. Dicamba was developed by Monsanto; the US company has been facing legal action for the drug since 2015; Bayer acquired Monsanto in 2018. Leverkusen are already facing thousands of lawsuits in the United States for alleged cancer risks from Monsanto's weed killer glyphosate. BASF uses its own Dicamba-based product to treat genetically modified plants.
The Missouri verdict is the first in a series of ongoing cases. A US spokesman for Bayer announced that the company would appeal the verdict. Dicamba is not responsible for the crop losses. BASF also announced legal remedies: "We are surprised and disappointed by the decision of the jury and are planning to appeal," said a spokesman on Sunday evening. The company's lawyers had previously argued that the peach fields had suffered before 2015 and cited weather conditions such as hail and late frost for the damage.