Roundup Weed Killer False Claims Settlement Raises Concerns

Legal News

When it comes to Roundup lawsuits, most of the attention has been focused on the personal injury side, particularly non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma claims that over 125,000 plaintiffs allege they have developed because of long-term exposure to the controversial herbicide. But what about compensation for the Roundup products millions of consumers have purchased? A class action lawsuit (Scott Gilmore, et al. v. Monsanto Co.) separate from the personal injury side addressed this concern. A proposed settlement of the false advertising claims related to the alleged dangers of glyphosate, the main active ingredient in Roundup, would establish a fund between $23 million and $45 million, reports. 

But the federal judge in California who is overseeing the consolidated Roundup personal injury lawsuits (in multidistrict litigation) balked at the proposal. Judge Vincent Chhabria, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said last week that even the highest end of the settlement may be too low $45 million in order to resolve economic loss claims. 

The range of the settlement proposal would compensate Roundup purchasers roughly 20% for each glyphosate-based Roundup product they could prove they purchased. 

Judge Chhabria theorized that based on a $10 per bottle reimbursement and based on the number of people who have purchased glyphosate-based Roundup products, the total reimbursement fee could run well above the $300 million mark. 

In addition, Judge Chhabria said he was concerned that class members may believe that as a result of the settlement, they may not realize that they could still file for personal injury claims. 

“If we’re going to approve a settlement like this we better make darn sure that the settlement process is not going to confuse anybody into believing that they’ve given up their rights to sue Monsanto if they develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma,” Judge Vince Chhabria of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said April 14, in a virtual hearing, per Law360. 

Judge Chhabria added, “If there is a risk even 0.1 percent of the class members would develop confusion as a result of seeing the class notice… .and cause them to shrug their shoulders if they get non-Hodgkin lymphoma and not pursue a claim that they could otherwise pursue against Monsanto, then I think the settlement would have to be rejected, for that reason alone,” he said.

The settlement relates to advertising claims, not product liability lawsuits, three of which have returned multi-million-dollar verdicts for plaintiffs. Those plaintiff verdicts were returned in the first three Roundup cancer trials but Bayer AG, Monsanto’s parent company, was cleared of liability in the fourth and fifth Roundup trials, the two most recent trials to have concluded.


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