Bayer’s Proposed Settlement
In February 2021, German company Bayer AG proposed a $2 billion settlement to cover future claims brought by individuals who are diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after being exposed to Roundup. The proposal comes as Bayer has struggled to finalize the settlement of claims that Monsanto’s weedkiller Roundup caused numerous plaintiffs’ non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The proposed plan will be implemented over four years to provide compensation, outreach to potential victims, diagnostic assistance, and free legal aid for those who have been exposed to Roundup. There will also be compensation options available for individuals who are diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after the initial four-year period and funding set aside for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma research. As part of the settlement proposal, Bayer will ask permission of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to add a reference link to scientific studies and information to consumers on Roundup labels.
Future claimants could receive up to $200,000 under the proposed settlement, and the parties can agree to extend the four-year settlement period. Anyone who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after exposure to Roundup and is not satisfied with their compensation offer under the settlement agreement can go to court and try for a better result independently.
However, the settlement agreement must be approved by the multidistrict litigation’s U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco in order to take effect.
Previous Settlement Proposals
In June 2020, Bayer announced a potential $10 billion settlement plan in an attempt to settle the majority of the roughly 125,000 claims against Roundup.
Also in June 2020, Judge Chhabria questioned the legality and fairness of a prior settlement plan from Bayer which envisioned creating a panel of scientists who would make decisions on the legitimacy of future claims. Judge Chhabria was concerned about whether future class members would have sufficient opportunities to decide if it was in their best interest to join the settlement plan. Additionally, only $1.25 billion was allocated for future Roundup claims in that proposed settlement plan.
Experts are skeptical about whether the revised settlement proposal will win over Judge Chhabria. Despite the proposed amount being larger than the previous $1.25 billion settlement offer, University of Richmond School of Law professor Carl Tobias questioned its effectiveness: “I don’t know if the money is right, whether that is enough. And I still wonder about future claims, how many there are going to be and when they are going to be and how they are going to be taken care of.”
Jury Verdicts Against Roundup
In August 2018, a California federal jury awarded plaintiff Edwin Hardeman $80 million. However, the award was later reduced by the judge to $25 million.
State court juries in San Francisco and Oakland also awarded large verdicts to the plaintiffs in the amounts of $289 million and $2 billion after a trial over whether glyphosate caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the plaintiffs and whether Monsanto deliberately failed to warn the public about the health risks of Roundup. However, both of those verdicts were reduced after trial to $78.5 million and $87 million. A California appellate panel further reduced the $78.5 million verdict to $20.4 million.
Roundup settlement talks began in earnest after the substantial jury awards for the plaintiffs.
Background on Roundup
Roundup litigation began in 2015 and was consolidated into multidistrict litigation after the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer deemed the active ingredient in Roundup (glyphosate) a probable human carcinogen. Bayer inherited the Roundup litigation after acquiring Monsanto in 2018 for $63 billion.
Roundup was first brought to market by Monsanto in 1974 and is still widely used by farmers throughout the United States. In the 1990s, there was a dramatic increase in the use of Roundup when Monsanto introduced “Roundup Ready” plants that had been genetically altered to resist the herbicide. That combination allowed farmers to kill weeds without harming their crops. However, experts and plaintiffs’ attorneys contend that the innovation came at a high cost to public health, especially to farmers and landscapers.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys have alleged that Monsanto knew of the health risks associated with Roundup since the 1990s when studies emerged showing a correlation between the product and lymphoma. According to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, due to Monsanto downplaying the scientific studies and refusing to put a warning label on the weedkiller, farmers and landscapers used the product thinking it was safe. Despite the Roundup litigation, glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) will remain on the market.
GoldenbergLaw Can Help
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after being exposed to Roundup, contact the Minnesota Roundup Cancer Attorneys at GoldenbergLaw. We have over thirty years of experience providing the Gold standard of advocacy. Contact us today and leave the sleepless nights to us.