Despite murmurings just weeks ago that Bayer might be on the verge of settling tens of thousands of lawsuits alleging its Roundup weed killer causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the company said it was putting the brakes on plans to set aside funds for a deal after publishing its earnings outlook for 2020, Reuters reported.
Since Bayer acquired Roundup manufacturer Monsanto in 2018, the company has been hit with three back-to-back multi-million-dollar verdicts. Earlier this year, Bayer agreed to postpone six trials because it was allegedly working through a possible global settlement with mediator Ken Feinberg. At the time, Feinberg had said that the number of Roundup lawsuits would likely skyrocket in the weeks and months to come well above the 42,700 it currently faces. Bayer’s shares also took a hit, falling about one-quarter in value since Bayer took over Monsanto.
In December, Bayer saw a shred of hope when the U.S. Justice Department said that a federal appeals court should reverse a lower court verdict in a California case after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the Trump administration, restated its opinion that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, was not carcinogenic despite the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classifying glyphosate in 2015 as a probable human carcinogen.
When asked during a press conference if Bayer planned to reach a settlement with plaintiffs before its annual investor meeting April 28, Chief Executive Werner Baumann said, “If we were to submit to the imperative of a deadline, we would very likely not achieve the best outcome for our company and our shareholders.”
Bayer Chief Financial Officer Wolfgang Nickl affirmed that the Justice Department’s brief and the EPA’s decision played a role in Bayer’s pause in settlement negotiations.
Beasley Allen lawyers are currently representing clients who have been exposed to Roundup and developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Our Roundup Litigation Team would welcome the opportunity to speak with you regarding a potential claim. For more information, contact one of the members of the Roundup Litigation Team: John Tomlinson (who heads up the team), Michael Dunphy, Danielle Ingram or Rhon Jones, all lawyers in our Toxic Torts Section.