Bayer AG, the company that bought Monsanto, is facing increasing pressure to resolve claims that the weed killer Roundup causes cancer. At least 52,500 plaintiffs have filed suit claiming that their cancers were caused by Roundup.
The plaintiffs are generally claiming that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in some users. The company denies that glyphosate causes cancer.
Three trials in California resulted in combined damages of $191 million. Bayer is appealing those verdicts. Meanwhile, new trials are being delayed, in part to give the company time to consider settling.
Bayer is facing some liquidity challenges related to current events and the economic downturn. Last year, after multiple Roundup trial defeats, the company’s CEO lost a shareholder confidence vote. However, he won just such a vote this spring.
According to Fortune, Bayer’s first-quarter earnings beat estimates. This was led by robust demand in the insecticide and fungicide markets, along with better-than-expected earnings in Bayer’s pharmaceutical and consumer health units. Overall, analysts seemed unworried about the impact of the pandemic on Bayer. Its stock prices were up after the first-quarter earnings report, although annual losses still hovered around 15%.
So, desperation is not keeping Bayer from settling with plaintiffs. Yet as mediation began this month, Bayer backed out of a tentative agreement that could have resolved the claims. Now, Bayer seems focused on keeping its Roundup losses under $10 billion.
Indeed, in early April the company asked plaintiffs to accept 20% less in compensation than it had originally offered during negotiations. Some plaintiffs may accept that deal, considering the current market uncertainties and changed conditions.
However, while the pandemic has probably affected Bayer’s bottom line, the company is under pressure to get control over the spiraling litigation to preserve its stock price.
Bayer has settled some Roundup claims
In March, Bayer settled a proposed class action that alleged that its Monsanto unit ran misleading ads regarding Roundup. The class contended that glyphosate attacks an enzyme found in humans, while Monsanto/Bayer claimed on Roundup’s label that glyphosate only affects plant enzymes.
Bayer agreed to settle that case for $39.5 million and to change its label so that it no longer says that glyphosate only affects plant enzymes. However, this case did not involve claims that Roundup causes cancer.
Have you developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup?
If you used Roundup and then got cancer, there is a chance that Roundup exposure caused your cancer. If so, you have legal options. Have your case evaluated by an experienced attorney who handles product liability cases.