Bayer AG, the German pharmaceutical giant that purchased Monsanto in 2018 and inherited the disbanded 117 year-old company’s legal troubles, has failed to meet a deadline to settle federal Roundup Weed Killer trials.
The judge overseeing Roundup lawsuits filed in federal courts—U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco—announced that he would resume federal trials. Plaintiffs allege that ingredients in Roundup, including glyphosate, caused them to develop a rare type of cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Although Bayer has thus far settled approximately 35% of the total 125,000 Roundup lawsuits, the overwhelming majority of cases filed against Monsanto are at the state level and thus don’t apply to yesterday’s deadline set by Chhabria. This opens the door for a resumption of 1,861 out of 3,787 federal Roundup lawsuits that haven’t reached agreements in principle with plaintiff’s attorneys.
Bayer has recently been on the wrong end of legal decisions. A judge seemed skeptical over the company’s insistence that the first successful federal Roundup lawsuit should be overturned. In that decision, the plaintiff, Edwin Hardeman was awarded $80 million; the award was later reduced to $25 million.
The Supreme Court of California recently refused to review the first Roundup case to go to trial (tried in a California state court), which was a win for the plaintiff, a retired school groundskeeper from the Bay Area named Dwayne “Lee” Johnson.
Meanwhile, the federal trials have been on hold for months in the hopes that settlements would have been reached. Back in September, Chhabria warned Bayer that federal trials would proceed at full speed if the deadline to settle was not met.
Another hearing is scheduled for November 9.