Bayer AG’s hopes that the U.S. Supreme Court will review and toss 30,000 remaining Roundup weedkiller personal injury lawsuits may have received a final fatal blow after an Alabama federal appeals court revived a Georgia man’s lawsuit that claims he developed cancer because of the controversial herbicide.
The ruling made by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Montgomery, Alabama on July 12 revives John Carson’s lawsuit against Monsanto, which was taken over by Bayer AG in 2018 for $63 billion. Carson was diagnosed with malignant fibrous histiocytoma in 2016, allegedly after using Roundup products for 30 years.
The appeals court ruling also rejects Bayer’s argument that federal rules on pesticides—which do not require a warning label for glyphosate, the main active ingredient in Roundup—shield Roundup from individual state law labelling requirements such as California’s Prop. 65, or in the case of Carson, Georgia law.
In the first three Roundup personal injury lawsuits—all held in California in 2018 and 2019—juries awarded plaintiffs tens of millions in damages and found that Roundup was a significant factor in their developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Despite being cleared of liability in the last four Roundup consumer personal injury lawsuits, Bayer is still potentially on the hook for billions of dollars in Roundup litigation costs. In recent weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review two of the three plaintiff verdicts. Had the 11th Circuit appeals court in Alabama not ruled in favor of Carson, the Supreme Court may have been more likely to take up Bayer’s request to review the Hardemann and Pilliod verdicts because of conflicting appeals court rulings in different states. But now that the appeals court in Alabama has ruled similarly to its counterparts in California, it makes it much less likely that the nation’s high court will review previous verdicts and declare and toss outstanding Roundup claims.