San Francisco, California—A San Francisco judge has moved to grant Monsanto a new trial after the August verdict finding that the glyphosate in its RoundUp had caused Dewayne Johnson’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The judge, Suzanne Bolanos, cited the “insufficiency of the evidence to justify the award for punitive damages,” according to The Guardian. She has not yet made a final decision; she’s waiting to hear additional arguments.
Monsanto has continued to argue that it is safe to use glyphosate. A Bayer spokesperson praised the tentative ruling.
According to Yahoo Finance, the ruling is due to a comment made during the closing arguments given by Brent Wisner, the lead trial attorney for Johnson. He told jurors that Monsanto executives were in a company board room with “a bunch of champagne on ice” to drink, should the ruling come back in their favor.
Bolanos questioned whether or not Wisner crossed a line, with that comment and another in which Wisner told jurors their decision could “change the world.” Those comments could be sufficiently prejudicial to warrant a new trial.
On Thursday, the day after the ruling, Bayer’s shares jumped 6.4%, although they are still around 16% lower than before the original verdict.