Bayer Proposes $8 Billion Settlement to Resolve Thousands of Roundup Cancer Claims
Written by Faith Anderson on August 19, 2019
Bayer AG, the company that acquired Monsanto in 2018, and its legal woes along with it, is said to have proposed an $8 billion deal to settle more than 18,000 lawsuits alleging that its controversial weed killer, Roundup, causes cancer. The proposed payout, which could take months to work out, is less than the $10 billion lawyers representing consumers who claim their use of Roundup caused them to develop cancer say they would need to drop their claims. If you have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or another type of cancer, and you believe the cancer was caused by exposure to Roundup weed killer, don’t hesitate to seek legal help. At Consumer Justice Foundation, we are committed to protecting the rights of consumers harmed by dangerous and defective products and can we can help put you in touch with an attorney who has experience handling Roundup cancer claims.
What is Roundup?
Roundup is the brand name of a powerful, broad-spectrum herbicide designed to kill weeds, namely broadleaf weeds and grasses that compete with crops, by inhibiting the enzyme that plants need in order to grow. The active ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate, which was first registered for use in the United States in 1974 and has since become the most widely used herbicide in the world. According to a 2016 study published in Environmental Sciences Europe, farmers in 2014 sprayed enough glyphosate to cover every acre of cropland in the world with close to a half-pound of the potent chemical. Since the mid-1990’s, when Monsanto, now part of Bayer, introduced genetically engineered “Roundup Ready” crops, which were designed to tolerate the application of glyphosate, global glyphosate used has increased nearly 15-fold.
What is the Problem with Roundup?
Glyphosate is used extensively by both professional herbicide applicators and consumers in gardens, parks and farms around the world, and has proven to be effective in killing weeds. However, serious concerns have emerged over the years regarding the potential adverse effect of Roundup exposure on human health, more specifically, concerns about the potential for exposure to Roundup to cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers. These concerns increased in 2015, after the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” and in 2017, when California added glyphosate to its list of cancer-causing chemicals under Proposition 65, a law that requires businesses to provide warnings about exposure to chemicals that can cause cancer, birth defects or other side effects. Despite growing concerns about the potential link between Roundup and cancer, Bayer insists that Roundup is safe for consumer use and does not pose a risk of cancer in humans. Amid global debate about the safety of glyphosate and Roundup, thousands of lawsuits have been brought against Bayer on behalf of consumers who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers following exposure to Roundup.
Landmark Plaintiff Verdicts in Roundup Lawsuits
Since Bayer acquired Monsanto last year, the company has already lost three high-profile cases over the potential for Roundup to cause cancer in consumers exposed to the weed killer. In May 2019, a California jury awarded a couple $2 billion in punitive damages and another $55 million in compensatory damages after concluding that exposure to Roundup caused their cancer diagnoses. In two previous cases, former Roundup users diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma were awarded $78.5 million and $80 million, respectively, by California juries. These significant jury verdicts buoyed other former Roundup users diagnosed with cancer, and thousands of new Roundup cases followed each of Bayer’s losses in court.
The surge of Roundup lawsuits filed against Bayer has tanked the company’s shares and major investors have reportedly urged Bayer to consider a Roundup settlement. At the end of last month, Bayer Chief Executor Officer Werner Baumann said that he would consider a “financially reasonable” settlement to resolve the lawsuits over non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers allegedly caused by Roundup. However, a mediator called in by the district judge overseeing the federal Roundup cases consolidated in San Francisco, called reports of a proposed $8 billion Roundup settlement “pure fiction.” Said Kenneth Feinberg, “There have been absolutely no discussions to date of dollars or what the compensation would be for a global resolution” of the Roundup cancer cases.
Compensation for Consumers Harmed by Roundup
Attorneys representing Bayer and consumers claiming to have been harmed by Roundup exposure are reportedly in talks to resolve all current and future claims involving the best-selling weed killer in the world. In fact, two lawsuits scheduled to be heard in St. Louis, Missouri in August and September have been postponed, which means that settlement talks are most likely in progress. It comes as no surprise that Bayer is trying to avoid another $2 billion-plus verdict at trial, which would undoubtedly weaken the company’s hand in settlement negotiations and could cause the settlement demand for Roundup cases to skyrocket to $20 billion. If you were diagnosed with cancer after using Roundup and you are considering filing a lawsuit against Bayer, contact our consumer advocates at Consumer Justice Foundation as soon as possible to find out how we can help.