Bayer through Monsanto was recently ordered to pay 289M USD in damages in the case of one individual who became ill allegedly by way of a weedkiller substance and there are 5000 similar lawsuits. The case will be appealed.
In the absence of information about the result of future appeals, the expected value of damages awarded, would be the same 289M USD. When lawsuits are "similar" it means expectations of damages can reasonably be higher as well as lower in the other lawsuits but the expectation, in the arithmetic sense of the word, would be the same. The expected damages of 5000 cases is 1.4T USD and since gross world product is about 100T that is 1.4% of annual output. Compared to the value the world's people produce in a year, a person might be inclined to say the total damages of 1.4% is not unreasonable. If all the world's people are not collectively responsible they would still have to "pay" when the cost of damages is integrated into the price of things people buy or into the value of their investment funds whether individually held or through an institution such as a pension fund. If the average person produces output for 40 years the burden appears to be 0.00035 times lifetime output. The damages of the total of all of the similar cases is near 14 times the market value of the equity of Bayer and near 38 times the accounting equity.
Since the suffering of 5000 persons and families can seem to be infinite, and the same can be said of the suffering of just one person, an observer might be inclined to say that even damages of 1.4T USD is not unreasonable. (Edit: Of course by this reasoning, 1.4T is unreasonably short of infinite.)
Typically how is the amount of damages determined in this type of industrial product case and does the process for determining it change at different levels in the court system?