Though headlines had indicated that a Roundup cancer settlement had been reached, there is now news that a portion of the proposed agreement is being discarded following significant skepticism voiced by the federal judge overseeing the case.
Though U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria seems amenable to a portion of the $10 billion agreement, he signaled that a portion of the proposal that assigned $1.25 billion for resolving future lawsuits was inadequate, and particularly so because of the challenges of predicting scientific discovery or illnesses caused by a product that continues to be sold.
The remaining $9.6 billion of the Roundup cancer agreement will likely remain in place, allowing Bayer to move forward with settling the lawsuits already filed by those who accuse the main ingredient in the pesticide of causing their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But the judge indicated that he is dissatisfied by the idea of scientists making a definitive, moment-in-time decision about whether the product is carcinogenic.
Concern Voiced Over Scientists’ Role in Roundup Cancer Litigation Decision
In commenting on his hesitation regarding the science panel, Judge Chhabria said he questioned giving them rather than judges and juries the ability to determine liability for Roundup cancer. He suggested that the negotiating parties find an alternative, saying,
“Although the court is not aware of any Plan B, it would be surprising if none existed given the stakes involved and the novelty of Plan A.” Both representatives for the plaintiffs and for Bayer indicated that they will continue working on addressing the issue of cases that may arise.
The fact that Bayer will not be putting labels warning about Roundup cancer on the product is making the issue particularly challenging for attorneys on both sides. The issue is likely to affect both those who have used the product in the past but who have not yet filed lawsuits against the company and others who may use the product in the future.