CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) — A jury on Saturday awarded $265 million in punitive damages to a southeastern Missouri peach farmer who argued that weedkiller dicamba that had drifted onto his orchards from other farms had seriously weakened his trees — an award that could bode well for other farmers suing the chemical’s makers.
The punitive damages awarded to farmer Bill Bader, of Campbell, came a working day soon after the jury awarded him $15 million in precise damages, agreeing with his argument that dicamba had drifted above from other farms and seriously weakened Bader Farms, which is a single of the biggest peach farms in Missouri. Bader’s attorneys argued that his trees probably wouldn’t survive the dicamba publicity, The St. Louis Submit-Dispatch described.
Lawyers for Bayer, which would make dicamba, vowed to charm.
“We want our prospects to know that, as this lawful subject carries on, we continue being steadfast in our determination to providing them the successful and sustainable tools they need to have in the industry,” Bayer stated in a assertion.
The awards in Bader’s lawsuit could bode well for other similar lawsuits submitted against Bayer and BASF, which invented the pesticide. The lawsuits blame dicamba for harming tens of millions of acres of crops across the region.
Farmers have been applying dicamba for extra than 50 decades, but following Monsanto — which was bought by Bayer in 2018 — launched dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybeans, the weedkiller’s use grew to become more widespread, foremost to extra grievances from neighboring farms whose non-dicamba-resistant crops had been obtaining killed off by dicamba drift.
In reaction, the U.S. Environmental Safety Company has enhanced the constraints on the dicamba’s use in latest decades, and many states have imposed further restrictions, like requiring amplified instruction and utilizing slash-off dates right after which the chemical can not be sprayed.
Lawyers for the corporations argued that the trees on Bader’s farm have been destroyed by root fungus and adverse temperature, not dicamba drift.