(Reuters) – Bayer AG and BASF have won a new $ 60 million lawsuit in damages and were ordered to pay a peach grower in Missouri who said dicamba, a herbicide they produced, drove into his orchard and damaged his crops.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that a federal jury was wrongly told to assess damages for Bayer and BASF together, rather than separately. It said a new trial was needed to determine damages for each company.
BASF, which in the appeal had claimed that the joint award was unfair because the case focused on Monsanto, which is now owned by Bayer, said in a statement that it was satisfied with the verdict.
Tracey George, a lawyer for Farmer Bill Bader, said in an email, “We are convinced that BASF̵7;s reprehensible conduct and significant net worth will result in even greater criminal damages in a new trial.”
Bayer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The order does not affect the jury’s ruling that the companies are responsible, leaving $ 15 million in non-punitive damages in place.
The jury initially awarded $ 250 million in damages, but a federal judge later reduced the sentence to $ 60 million.
Bader’s lawsuit, one of more than 100 similar lawsuits over dicamba, went to trial in early 2020. Bayer in June 2020 announced that it would pay up to $ 400 million to resolve the remaining dicamba lawsuits.
Mr. Bader, who runs Missouri’s largest peach garden, said dicamba invaded his property from nearby soybean and cotton plantations.
Monsanto began selling dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton seeds, which it developed in 2015 and 2016, respectively, which led to an explosion in dicamba use, Bader and other farmers have said.
The US Environmental Protection Agency imposed restrictions on the use of dicamba in November 2018.