April 14th, 2020
Bayer In Discussions on Roundup Settlement That Could Total $10 Billion
For the past few months, Bayer has been in settlement discussion
with plaintiffs’ lawyers regarding the tens of thousands of claims currently filed throughout the country, alleging Roundup weed killer causes cancer. It has been reported these discussions contemplate Bayer setting aside $8 billion to resolve current cases and reserve $2 billion for future claims (since certain Roundup-associated cancers, like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, can take years to manifest).
To be clear, neither Bayer, nor the mediator involved in these discussions has commented on the numbers or any terms under negotiation. And the recent outbreak of Covid-19 cases has stalled discussions as well. So, any settlement that can be reached by the parties to these cases remains far from complete. Yet it does appear progress is being made towards a settlement of these personal injury claims, and there is reason for hope for the tens of thousands of individuals who may have developed cancer from using Roundup.
Last year, the parties were able to reach a $21.5 million settlement of a lawsuit between Monsanto Co. and consumers over Monsanto’s misleading labels on concentrated versions of Roundup weed killer. The nature of that particular lawsuit centered on Monsanto’s “aggressive marketing”
of Roundup as being safe for humans and animals, instead of addressing the claims of those injured by exposure to Roundup. Monsanto recognized its liability exposure on those claims and worked to resolve them. Hopefully, Bayer will follow a similar path with respect to the pending injury claims.
In the meantime, if you believe you have contracted cancer from exposure to Roundup or other herbicide products, you should contact an experienced law firm right away to explore the possibility of a claim. To be sure, the $10 billion figure isn’t final and could change as talks continue, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the discussions.
Ken Feinberg, the lead mediator for the cases, has indicated deals resolving as many as 85,000 Roundup claims in the U.S. may be reached within a month. Feinberg said he’s unaware of the numbers being discussed in settlement talks. The talks are taking place between company lawyers and separate groups of plaintiffs’ attorneys, each with a sizable inventory of cases.
While Feinberg said in an email he remains optimistic “any details about what may constitute a comprehensive agreement are pure speculation as to both dollars and eligibility criteria.”
Chris Loder, a U.S.-based spokesman for the company, said the figure cited by Feinberg is “a speculative estimate” that includes “potential plaintiffs” who haven’t filed court complaints and that “the number of served cases as reported on a quarterly basis remains significantly below 50,000.”
“The mediation process is continuing diligently and in good faith to explore resolution under the auspices of Ken Feinberg,” Loder said Thursday. “There is also no certainty or timetable for a comprehensive resolution.”
Read More: Bayer’s Roundup Challenge Is to Avoid Another ‘Nuclear’ Jury Verdict
Roundup claims have surged since a trio of jury verdicts awarded plaintiffs almost $2.5 billion, increasing pressure on Bayer to settle. While several trials due to start this month have been postponed to allow more time for negotiations, cases in Missouri and California got underway this week. Bayer is appealing the earlier verdicts, which judges have already slashed to $191 million.
Analyst estimates vary on how much a deal could cost. Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Holly Froum said this week it could take $10 billion to $13 billion. Thomas Claps, a litigation analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group, forecast $4.5 billion to $6.5 billion.