It has been several weeks since word spread that Bayer AG had agreed to a $10 billion settlement agreement with Roundup cancer victims. But shortly after that announcement was made came word that the judge in the case had rejected the plan, noting several shortcomings in its terms. This week the settlement grew closer to reality as three major law firms representing thousands of plaintiffs have announced that a new deal’s terms are acceptable to them.
There are more than 100,000 Roundup cancer victims who have filed claims against Bayer AG and their subsidiary Monsanto, which manufactures the popular weedkiller. The initial agreement that was reached had only been agreed to by two of the major law firms representing those victims, with three others filing memorandums of understanding but no final agreements. This past Monday those firms each filed notifications of the deals with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Questions Remain Regarding Future Roundup Cancer Claims
One of the biggest issues that had stymied the initial agreement centered on the disposition of future Roundup cancer claims. The popular herbicide has been accused of causing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in many of those who are exposed to it, and though the company denies responsibility for these illnesses and deaths, their denials do not address the untold numbers of people who may yet be diagnosed with the disease in the future. Individual personal injury lawsuits against the company have resulted in over $2 billion in jury verdicts, and the company indicated that if no national settlement could be agreed they would be forced to file for bankruptcy.
Though Bayer wants to force future Roundup cancer cases to be delayed by four years to allow a “science panel” to issue a judgment on the product’s role in the development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria rejected that idea. It remains to be seen how the new settlement agreements resolve the issue.