Articles Posted in Roundup

In this post, our Roundup lawyers will give you:

  1. an update on where things stand in the Roundup class action lawsuit in December 2023 (including updates from the last four trials, including the new $1.5 billion verdict on November 20, 2023, and the latest $2.25 billion verdict in Philadelphia on January 26, 2024). 
  2. the likely direction the Roundup litigation will likely take moving forward and

Although Bayer has already settled 80% of the pending Roundup cases, the company could be facing thousands of future Roundup claims for years to come. After previous efforts to curtail future Roundup liability failed, Bayer’s only hope of avoiding another decade of Roundup settlements is winning a long-shot appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The odds of Bayer winning this appeal are very small, but yesterday the Supreme Court gave Bayer a small ray of hope by asking the Biden administration to weigh in on whether to hear Bayer’s appeal. In response, Bayer immediately announced that it was halting any further settlements in the remaining Roundup cases.

Status of the Roundup Litigation

Roundup is one of the most popular and widely used weed killers in the world. Roundup was first released in the early 1970s by Monsanto (now owned by pharma giant Bayer) and it eventually came to dominate the weed killer market, both commercial and residential. Roundup was everywhere and there was never any question about whether it was safe.

The end of Roundup’s success story began about 5 years ago when it was discovered that chronic exposure to the active ingredient in Roundup (glyphosate) could cause certain types of cancer. This discovery was followed by an inevitable tidal wave of lawsuits by individuals who were diagnosed with cancers such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after prolonged use of Roundup.

The Roundup lawsuits soon numbered in the thousands and were consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of California. Monsanto (and its successor Bayer) has repeatedly refused to admit that Roundup is unsafe and aggressively defended its product in the courts.  After years of civil discovery and a series of “test trials” that resulted in massive plaintiff verdicts, Bayer finally gave in and announced in 2020 that it was going to pay a staggering $10 billion to settle all of the Roundup lawsuits.

Ever since its acquisition of Monsanto for $63 billion back in 2016, Bayer AG has found itself defending an exhausting war of attrition against claims that its weed killer product, Roundup, caused thousands of users to get cancer. At first, Bayer was determined to defend the safety of Roundup in the courtroom. But the first handful of Roundup trials in 2018 and 2019 resulted in spectacular losses with 3 verdicts totaling almost $3 billion.

These crushing verdicts essentially forced Bayer to change its strategy and start the long process of settling out large blocks of pending Roundup cases. So far almost $10 billion has been paid out to resolve over 90,000 cases and last month, Bayer earmarked another $4.5 billion to cover future Roundup claims.

In the meantime, Bayer has also been pursuing appeals seeking to overturn the gigantic verdicts in the Roundup test cases. Earlier this week, however, a California appellate court thoroughly rejected the most significant of these appeals and accused Bayer of having no regard for consumer safety.

A federal jury this week found that exposure to Roundup, the popular weed killer product, caused a California man to develop cancer.  How much money did they award?  They have not given an award because the case was bifurcated.  There will be another phase to determine damages.

In phase 2 of the trial in San Francisco, the jury determines Monsanto’s liability and decides how much money to award in damages. Hardeman v. Monsanto is the bellwether case for the Roundup MDL (what is an MDL?) which includes thousands of similar suits from federal courts around the country. The ultimate outcome of the Hardeman trial will dictate how the remaining Roundup cases are resolved and things are looking good for the plaintiffs so far.

Last week I read speculation that the Roundup lawsuits might bankrupt Bayer because the cost of the settlements and verdicts they will have to pay will destroy the company.  Do I believe this?  No.  But, boy, it makes me more interested in every tidbit of information about the Roundup lawsuits pending in federal court.

federal roundup trial The judge overseeing all the federal lawsuits involving the weed killer Roundup has granted Bayer’s request to have an upcoming trial split into two phases. This order prevents plaintiffs from introducing evidence that the company tried to influence regulators and manipulate the public into thinking that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, was safe. Roundup plaintiffs’ attorneys opposed Bayer’s proposals because they felt that their evidence proves Monsanto’s intent and misconduct.

Upcoming trial in February 2019

The Roundup weed killer cancer lawsuits have gathered a lot of recent attention.  A $289 million verdict will do that.

These cases are now pushing along with great steam. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in the Northern District of California is pushing to have MDL cases go before a federal jury by February 2019. Judge Chhabria has been presiding over all federal Roundup lawsuits. Many of these lawsuits allege that Monsanto failed to warn consumers that their Roundup weed killer brand might cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers.

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