(Bloomberg) -- Bayer AG’s Monsanto unit persuaded a California judge to slash by more than 90% a $332 million jury award to a former land surveyor who blamed his cancer on the company’s Roundup weedkiller.

Judge Kevin Enright in San Diego rejected Monsanto’s bid for a new trial in Michael Dennis’ lawsuit but agreed to reduce the verdict to $28 million.

“Plaintiff’s award of $325 million in punitive damages violates due process by lacking a ‘reasonable relationship’ to the $7 million in compensatory damages awarded and exceeds the constitutional threshold” laid out by the US Supreme Court, Enright wrote in his decision Monday.

The ruling is welcome news for Bayer, which has been hammered recently with big verdicts in cases over the top-selling herbicide. A jury in Philadelphia last month ordered Monsanto to pay $2.3 billion to a former Roundup user.

‘Unconstitutionally Excessive’

“We are pleased with the court’s decision to significantly reduce the unconstitutionally excessive damage award,” Bayer said in a statement Wednesday. It said it would appeal in hopes of getting the whole verdict thrown out. 

Adam Peavy, one of Dennis’ lawyers, didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment on the verdict’s reduction.

Until November, Monsanto had won nine Roundup cases in a row. Then it lost three consecutive cases. Bayer, which maintains the product is safe, has reserved $16 billion to deal with the costs of the litigation.

Bayer’s new chief executive officer, Bill Anderson, has been reviewing the company’s strategy and structure since taking over in June. The Texas native has said nothing is off the table as he seeks to win back investors’ trust and navigate the company out of a thicket of legal and other challenges.

Slashed Verdicts

The jury in Dennis’ case concluded that Monsanto had defectively designed Roundup, failed to properly warn the surveyor about its health risks and deserved to pay punitive damages over its mishandling of the product. 

Bayer argued the size of the punitive award violated Supreme Court guidance on punitive damages. It isn’t uncommon for judges to cut whopping punitive damages in accordance with the high court’s decisions.

Monsanto is facing a spate of new Roundup cases after settling more than 100,000 suits. A jury in Delaware state court is weighing a woman’s claims the product caused her landscaper husband’s death. Another jury, in state court in Philadelphia, is hearing evidence in a similar case.

The California case is Dennis v. Monsanto, 37-2021-00047326, Superior Court of California, San Diego County.

--With assistance from Tim Loh.

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