Bayer reaches agreement to settle Roundup lawsuits
Published: June 2, 2020
Category: Pesticide Hazards, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter
Agreement allows Bayer to continue selling Roundup without warning labels
Bayer AG has reached verbal agreements to settle a significant amount of an estimated 125,000 lawsuits over the link between the company’s Roundup weed killer and cancer.
The agreements, which have not yet been signed, cover an estimated 50,000 to 85,000 lawsuits and are part of Bayer’s $10 billion plan to end the costly legal battles the company has faced since purchasing Monsanto in 2018.
Settlements for cases will range from a few million dollars to a few thousand dollars each, according to one unidentified source. Meanwhile some plaintiff lawyers are still holding out.
Bayer is likely to announce the settlements, which need approval from the company’s supervisory board, in June.
Bayer has said it will allocate $8 billion to settle the current cases, especially those that have the strongest claims against the company. Another $2 billion will be set aside to cover future lawsuits linking Roundup to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
However, some plaintiff lawyers are not happy with the proposed settlements. James Onder, a St. Louis-based attorney handling more than 24,000 Roundup cases, called Bayer’s proposed settlements, which would be as little as $5,000 each for his clients, “insulting.” Onder said Bayer is attempting “to strong-arm the most vulnerable in our society into accepting minuscule settlements.”
In what could be a controversial part of the settlement, Bayer will continue to sell Roundup in the U.S. to home gardeners and farmers without any safety warnings. Also, plaintiffs’ attorneys will agree to stop taking new cases or advertising for new clients.
To date, Bayer has lost three lawsuits over Roundup’s link to non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer. In 2018, a jury in a California court held Monsanto/Bayer liable for the cancer suffered by Dewayne Johnson, a school groundskeeper, and awarded him $289 million. A judge later reduced that to $78.5 million. Two more trials ended in similar verdicts against Bayer with courts ordering the company to pay more than $2 billion. Bayer is appealing all three verdicts.
As a result of the Roundup lawsuits, Bayer’s stock has lost $40 billion in value. In March, a Bayer shareholder filed a lawsuit against the company’s top executives, claiming they had breached their duty of “prudence” and “loyalty” to the company and investors by buying Monsanto, one of the world’s most reviled companies.
Sources: Bloomberg News, U.S. Right to Know
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