Two years ago, German pharmaceutical and chemical maker giant, Bayer, acquired Monsanto, maker of one of the world’s most well-known weedkillers, Roundup. They never would have anticipated the massive number of lawsuits that eventually erupted over claims that the weedkiller caused cancer.
Thousands of cancer patients or their estates have filed lawsuits against the company. Most of Monsanto’s current and potential future lawsuits are being settled for $10 billion dollars. Announced on June 24, 2020, this settlement is one of the largest in U.S. civil litigation history. The negotiations were extremely complex, and separate agreements were made with 25 different leading law firms, whose clients will receive varying amounts of the settlement. The deal also includes litigation that was brought by two plaintiff law firms that led the California state court bellwether cases and the federal multi-district litigation.
This settlement was long overdue after years of testimony from cancer patients who claimed that Monsanto’s Roundup products caused their non-Hodgkin lymphoma and the company never adequately warned them about the risk.
Bayer Received Thousands of Roundup Lawsuits
Investors became dissatisfied with Bayer’s legal approach to the thousands of lawsuits that had been building over the last year, which put further pressure on the company to issue a settlement. According to a news release, Bayer said that the Roundup settlement will bring closure to over 75% of Roundup’s overall litigation, which involved around 125,000 unfiled and filed claims.
In order to resolve the current Roundup lawsuits, Bayer will make a payment of between $8.8 billion dollars and $9.6 billion dollars, including an expected allowance to cover unresolved claims. To address potential future litigation, $1.25 billion dollars will be issued to support a separate class agreement.
Two critical conditions necessary for the settlement were that it would bring closure to the lawsuits, and it was financially reasonable, according to Bayer’s chief executive, Werner Baumann. In an interview on Wednesday, he said that he was convinced that this settlement achieves both. Money has been set aside to deal with future claimants, in addition to existing plaintiffs outside of the agreement.
Two people who are currently involved in the negotiations said that, depending on how strong the case is, an individual could receive payments of between $5,000 and $250,000.
Bayer Still Denies Roundup’s Cancer Links
Bayer’s settlement agreements do not contain any admission of wrongdoing or liability. Bayer said that the weedkiller is still being sold because when used as directed, it’s relatively safe.
In 1974, glyphosate was introduced to the market and in 1996, it quickly gained momentum after Monsanto had developed seeds that were genetically-modified to survive Roundup’s concentrated weed attacks. Farmers started purchasing these seeds to increase crop yields and reduce costs. For example, in the United States, 90% of corn and cotton crops and 94% of soybean crops come from seeds that are genetically altered.
However, in 2015, there were anxieties over possible hazards. It was announced by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, that glyphosate might cause cancer. The findings were denounced by Monsanto, citing that years of laboratory research, as well as in the field, had proved glyphosate was safe to use. Monsanto and Bayer’s position has been backed by regulators in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.
Critics believe that the conclusions were based on flawed, incomplete research by Monsanto. Around the world, several districts and cities have either restricted or banned the use of glyphosate. The products have also been pulled off of some store shelves.
Differences in the way the data was analyzed and selected, as well as the questions that were asked, make up part of the discrepancy between investigators’ findings and the international agency’s conclusions.
Other Roundup Settlements
Right after Monsanto was purchased by Bayer in 2018, a California judge awarded school groundskeeper, Dewayne Johnson, $289 million dollars after it was determined that glyphosate had been linked to his cancer. The judge also said that consumers should have been warned about the risks. Other jury trials in 2018 and 2019 found similar outcomes for two more plaintiffs. They were each awarded $80 million dollars and $2 billion dollars, respectively. Judges reduced the plaintiffs’ awards during later hearings, but Bayer’s stock price suffered dramatically. An $8 billion dollar settlement was proposed by Bayer in August 2019 for cancer claims. Its animal health business was sold to Elanco for $7.6 billion dollars in a cost-saving move that was in the process of closing as of April 2020.
PCBs and Dicamba Settlement
Bayer also plans to spend $400 million dollars separately to settle claims from dicamba, another Monsanto chemical that drifts once it has been sprayed, damaging neighboring crops in the process. Another $820 million dollars has also been set aside to settle years-long lawsuits related to PCBs – toxic chemicals in the water supply containing polychlorinated biphenyls, which had been banned four decades ago in the United States.
Broughton Partners Helps Law Firms Seek Justice
For years, Broughton Partners has worked tirelessly to provide qualified plaintiffs for this lawsuit, and a significant number of them were signed by us. We were happy to play an important role in helping these individuals recover damages for cancers that were linked to glyphosate, Roundup’s active ingredient.
We are proud of the work we have accomplished. We have helped thousands of individuals seek representation following an injustice or an injury. Broughton Partners’ mission is to create a world without corporate negligence, and this outcome further represents another major step towards achieving this goal.
If your law firm is interested in helping more victims of dangerous drugs and products, contact us today for a free consultation.