Approximately 45,000 out of 125,000 Roundup lawsuits appear to be settled, with plaintiff attorneys and Bayer AG inking binding deals. The settlements are on track to bring Roundup litigation to an end, at least for existing cases. A stay on litigation has been imposed until November 2, however, the judge presiding over approximately 1,000 unresolved Roundup cases, indicated that he will “move at full speed to set trials after the deadline passes,” reports Bloomberg Quint.
The approximately 35% of all existing Roundup lawsuits resolved represents a marked development in cooperation, compared to just a few weeks ago, when the historic $10-$11 billion settlement seemed to be on the verge of collapse.
Mediator Kenneth Feinberg, who also oversaw the U.S. government’s September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, told Reuters his “optimism knows no bounds,” and that he expected the next set of cases scheduled for trial to soon settle.
Although in recent weeks, attorneys that have represented plaintiffs in court against Monsanto accused Bayer (which acquired Monsanto 2018) of reneging on settlement agreements, the most recent hearings made no mention of the acrimony. Also not mentioned in the optimistic hearings was the fact that some plaintiffs’ firms were unwilling to agree to Bayer’s settlement offer.
Another major sticking point in the settlement plan was Bayer’s proposal to resolve future lawsuits through an independent scientific panel. The question of whether or not glyphosate—the main active ingredient in Roundup and several other brands of weed killers—causes cancer. Historically, it has been up to judges and juries to decide on causation. The judge overseeing the settlement talks questioned the fairness of the plan, arguing that the science could evolve over time. Finitely concluding causation, or lack thereof, should not be put in the hands of experts, the judge suggested.
Bayer is in the process of revising its plan to address future Roundup litigation, for which it has set aside approximately $1.25 billion.
Had no nationwide settlement been reached, Bayer may have filed for bankruptcy, according to plaintiff’s attorneys.
In addition to the 45,000 Roundup cases having reached settlement agreements, U.S. Right To Know reports that more than 3,000 lawsuits grouped together in multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Northern California are on the verge of being settled. The 45,000 or so cases resolved were processed through the state court system and not lumped together in MDL.