Last week, Bloomberg news reported that Bayer had made a settlement proposal of between 6 and 8 Billion dollars to resolve more than 18,000 Roundup lawsuits that are currently pending. The story was picked up by the national news networks. Bayer stock prices rallied with the news signaling an end to the litigation. Later that week, mediator Ken Feinberg, who was appointed by the court to attempt to negotiate a settlement, issued a statement that the report was not true.
While there is uncertainty surrounding when and if a potential settlement deal will be reached, it is clear that the Roundup trials to date have not ended well for Monsanto and its parent company Bayer. This has put pressure on the company’s stock and prompted a “no confidence” vote by Bayer stockholders. Bayer has suffered a depressed share price and disgruntled investors ever since the Aug. 10, 2018 jury decision in the first Roundup cancer trial. In that case, the jury awarded California groundskeeper Dewayne “Lee” Johnson $289 million and found that Monsanto acted with malice in suppressing information about the cancer risk associated with the use of its herbicides. Monsanto appealed the verdict to the California Appeals Court, and Johnson has cross-appealed seeking to restore his $289 million award from the reduced award of $78 million set by the trial judge. Oral arguments on the appeal are expected in September or October.
Two trials upcoming in Monsanto’s former home town of St. Louis have been postponed. One trial, in the case of Walter Winston v. Monsanto, was scheduled for August 19th but has been pushed back and is currently scheduled to start October 10th. In the meantime, injured consumers are hopeful that Bayer will do the right thing and provide financial compensation for the injured and their families. Werner Bauman, Bayer’s CEO, has said he would consider a “financially reasonable” settlement that “achieves finality of the overall litigation”. There are thousands of Roundup cases currently pending in the federal courts as well as various state courts, including New York. It is expected that any resolution will take into account future claims that are not yet filed, for some limited period of time.
The IARC has specifically linked exposure to Roundup® to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, including its various subtypes such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia, B-cell lymphoma, hairy cell leukemia, lymphocytic lymphoma and others. The product continues to be sold, marketed and used. Consumer advocates hope that the product will be banned from the marketplace or, at a minimum, labeled as a carcinogen. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after significant exposure to Roundup® products, the personal injury attorneys at Lacy Katzen may be able to assist you. You should act promptly as time limitations apply.