Bayer faces obstacles in efforts to settle Roundup cancer lawsuits

A home gardener sprays the herbicide glyphosate from a bottle of Roundup weedkiller.

As of December 2019, Bayer was facing at least 42,000 lawsuits involving the weedkiller Roundup. Many of these lawsuits were filed on behalf of consumers who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or other types of cancer after being exposed to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup.

Several months ago, Bayer entered into mediation talks with plaintiffs lawyers in an effort to potentially settle the thousands of Roundup lawsuits filed against the company. However, legal experts say that there are several unique aspects to the Roundup litigation that Bayer must overcome before a settlement in these thousands of cases will be possible.

Why did Bayer enter into talks regarding a potential Roundup settlement?

Only three of the more than 42,000 lawsuits filed against Bayer involving Roundup have gone to trial so far. All three cases resulted in verdicts in favor of Roundup users who allege that the developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a result of glyphosate exposure.

A jury awarded $289 million in damages to a California groundskeeper in August 2018. The plaintiff in the case alleged that he developed lymphoma after years of spraying Roundup as part of his job duties. This verdict was later reduced to $78 million in damages.

In March 2019, a jury in San Francisco awarded $80 million in damages to a homeowner who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after years of using Roundup on his property. The verdict in this case was later reduced to $25 million.

In May 2019, jurors in California awarded $2 billion in damages to a husband and wife who both developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma from using Roundup on the lawn and garden. This verdict was subsequently upheld, but reduced to $86.7 million on appeal.

What are the obstacles between Bayer and plantiffs attorneys that are preventing a settlement in the Roundup litigation?

In many product liability lawsuits, the litigation results in the addition of a warning label to the drug, medical device, or consumer product at issue in the lawsuits. This makes it more difficult for consumers to file a lawsuit after the settlement is reached, helping to make the risks and costs of reaching a settlement more predictable for the manufacturer.

Lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the Roundup litigation have stated that they will make a warning label about the cancer risks of glyphosate a condition of any settlement with Bayer. However, so far, Bayer has resisted any efforts to add such a warning label to Roundup.

What steps would need to occur for Bayer to reach a Roundup settlement?

To settle a mass torts litigation like the Roundup lawsuits, the manufacturer and plaintiffs attorneys would need to create a settlement fund and agree on the criteria under which consumers who filed lawsuits would qualify to receive a settlement. This could prove difficult for the Roundup litigation because of the lack of a “signature disease” associated with glyphosate.

In the case of asbestos exposure lawsuits, experts have recognized that mesothelioma is a signature disease that can only be caused by exposure to asbestos. Although exposure to Roundup has been linked with an increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, medical experts believe that this disease has no known cause.

As a result of this, until attorneys for Bayer and plaintiffs who were diagnosed with lymphoma or other cancers are able to agree on settlement criteria, lawsuits against the company will continue to be filed by plaintiffs who became ill after using Roundup.

How do I know if I qualify to file a Roundup lawsuit?

If you or a loved one used Roundup weedkiller and were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or other types of cancer, you may be eligible to take legal action. The first step in finding out if you qualify to file a case is to speak with an experienced product liability attorney, who can advise you regarding your legal rights and guide you through the first steps in filing a claim.

For more information about filing a Roundup lawsuit, and to find out if you qualify to file a case, contact the lawyers at Hissey, Mulderig & Friend for a free legal consultation. You can contact our office by calling us toll-free at 1-866-806-8117, or by filling out our free case evaluation form on the right side of this page.

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