toxic exposure, weed killer

Roundup mediator optimistic about settlement

Washington, D.C.-based attorney Ken Feinberg, the mediator appointed to resolve the thousands of lawsuits filed against Monsanto Co. involving its Roundup weedkiller, says he is optimistic about settling the cases. Ken recently told members of the press:

There are talks with various lawyers around the nation who have significant inventories of Roundup cases. I’m optimistic we can reach a comprehensive settlement of this litigation.

While I have great confidence in Ken’s ability to get complicated litigation settled, there are some observers who see settlements by Bayer in a different manner. One such person is Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor who teaches about mass-tort litigation. Bayer may be trying to negotiate individual lawyers’ cases rather than dealing with all 42,700 cases in a structured settlement program to hold down the total payout, according to Professor Tobias.

Person spraying weeds with herbicide, Roundup
Person spraying weeds with herbicide, Roundup

As previously reported, German pharmaceuticals giant Bayer acquired St. Louis-based Monsanto, the inventor and manufacturer of Roundup, for $63 billion in 2018. Chris Loder, a spokesman for Bayer, says, “the mediation process is continuing diligently and in good faith to explore resolution under the auspices of Ken Feinberg.”

Their use of Roundup by the Plaintiffs in the cases caused them to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Bayer – and Monsanto before it – was well aware of the dangers the chemical posed, but refused to warn consumers. In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen based on studies of farmers exposed to glyphosate who developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Bayer lost the first three cases that went to trial, all in California, which resulted in a total of more than $2.4 billion in damages. Judges later reduced the damages, and Bayer has appealed the verdicts.

Major Bayer investors, such as U.S.-based billionaire Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp., have urged the company to drop its defend-at-all-cost approach to the suits and consider a settlement. Several trials in California and Missouri have been postponed, which lawyers said reflects Bayer’s effort to resolve the massive litigation exposure it took on with the 2018 purchase of Monsanto.

A fourth Roundup trial scheduled to start on Jan. 21 in St. Louis was continued so that the medication process could proceed. We take that as a good indication for a global settlement because the case was in St. Louis, home territory for Monsanto.

Beasley Allen lawyers, led by John Tomlinson, a lawyer in our Toxic Torts Section, are currently representing thousands of clients who have been exposed to Roundup and developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. One of those clients is a Montgomery resident whose case is set for trial in October of this year.

Beasley Allen lawyers are currently representing clients who have been exposed to Roundup and developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. For more information, contact Rhon Jones of our Roundup Litigation Team.

This story appears in the February 2020 issue of The Jere Beasley Report. For more like this, visit the Report online and subscribe.

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