Washington court reverses verdict against Bayer in PCBs case

A $185 million verdict against Pharmacia—a Monsanto spinoff—which sold now-banned chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), was found liable in 2021 for chemical contamination.

259
SOURCENationofChange

A case against Bayer’s Monsanto unit was overturned in a Washington state appeals court this month. A $185 million verdict against Pharmacia—a Monsanto spinoff—which sold now-banned chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), was found liable in 2021 for chemical contamination.

But the state Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Bayer “that the lower court improperly applied the laws of Missouri, where Monsanto is based, which allowed the claims to be filed decades after the company stopped producing PCBs in 1977,” Reuters reported.

“The company will consider its legal options regarding the application of this ruling to other SVEC verdicts that are in conflict with it, as well as how this ruling could affect future trials,” a spokesperson for Bayer said.

The lawsuit claimed three teachers suffered brain damage from PCBs that leaked from light fixtures at the Sky Valley Education Center (SVEC) in Monroe, Washington. PCBs were used to insulate electrical equipment as well as found in other products such as, caulking and paint.

While the case will go back to the lower court to determine if a new trial is necessary, the plaintiffs’ attorney, Richard Friedman, said he will retry the case, but hopes the state Supreme Court “simply reinstates the verdict” upon appeal.

There are 200 similar cases against Bayer from the same school claiming punitive damages like cancer, thyroid problems and other health concerns from PCBs. While the company denies responsibility, Bayer is appealing the verdicts saying the school failed to “heed repeated warnings to replace the lights, Reuters reported.

FALL FUNDRAISER

If you liked this article, please donate $5 to keep NationofChange online through November.

COMMENTS