The federal judge in California overseeing the consolidated Roundup weedkiller cancer lawsuits is being urged by plaintiffs’ attorneys to resolve the litigation either through a global settlement or a return of the cases to U.S. District Courts across the nation if Monsanto refuses a settlement.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria was informed via a statement by plaintiffs’ attorneys earlier this month that Monsanto has failed to make meaningful attempts to resolve outstanding claims. Monsanto is also accused of not making any changes to Roundup’s labeling information.
Since 2016, Monsanto and its owner, Bayer AG, have faced over 120,000 product liability claims. Plaintiffs allege that long-term exposure to Roundup caused them to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
In 2018 and 2019, the first three Roundup trials were held, and each one returned jury verdicts in favor of the consumers. In those trials, plaintiffs were each awarded tens of millions of dollars in damages.
After those three trials, in 2020, Bayer resolved approximately 95,000 Roundup product liability claims for approximately $10 billion. Approximately 30,000 claimants refused the settlement. That same year, Bayer, which inherited Monsanto’s legal liabilities when it acquired the company in 2018 for $63 billion, attempted to end future Roundup litigation for an additional $2 billion. Judge Chhabria has rejected Bayer’s proposal twice, most recently in May 2021.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review two of the three plaintiff verdicts from 2018 and 2019. Bayer had petitioned the high court to hear those cases and hoped that by doing so, the Court would overturn the decisions based on the fact that federal labeling laws supersede those at the state level, thereby eliminating the need for a warning label on Roundup. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not consider Roundup to pose a health risk to humans if the application directions are followed.
Bayer has been cleared of liability by juries in the five most recent Roundup trials. At least 11 Roundup trials are scheduled within the next year, all of which will be held in courts at the state level.