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The Latest: Expert says $2 billion award likely reduced

SAN FRANCISCO — The Latest on $2 billion verdict against Monsanto (all times local):

4 p.m.

A law professor says it's likely a trial judge or appellate court will significantly reduce a Northern California jury's $2 billion punitive award against Monsanto Co.

University of California, Hastings School of Law professor David Levine said the ratio between the $2 billion in punitive damages and $55 million in compensatory damages is too high. He said judges rarely allow punitive damages to exceed four times actual damages awarded and often reduce awards with even lower ratio.

Alva and Alberta Pilliod claimed they used Roundup for more than 30 years to landscape their home and other properties. They were both diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The California Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that any punitive damages exceeding 10 times the compensatory damages are likely unconstitutionally high. The state high court didn't propose a ratio it felt correct, but said punitive damages should almost never exceed nine times actual damages.

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3:10 p.m.

A jury ordered agribusiness giant Monsanto Co. to pay a combined $2.05 billion to a couple who claimed the company's popular weed killer Roundup Ready caused their cancers.

The Oakland jury on Monday delivered Monsanto's third such loss in California since August.

Alva and Alberta Pilliod claimed they used Roundup for more than 30 years to landscape their home and other properties. They were both diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

A federal jury in San Francisco previously ordered the weed killer maker to pay a man $80 million and a San Francisco jury in August awarded $289 million to a former greenskeeper, though a judge later reduced it.

The trials were the first of an estimated 13,000 lawsuits against Monsanto.

German chemical giant Bayer owns Monsanto and said it will appeal.

The Associated Press