St Louis Roundup Weed Killer Trial Scheduled For Today Nixed By Settlement

Legal News

A Roundup cancer trial scheduled to begin today in St. Louis was removed from the docket after Bayer and dozens of plaintiffs reached a settlement for an undisclosed sum, the St. Louis Dispatch reported. 

St. Louis is the home of Monsanto’s global headquarters. The company that invented Roundup weed killer in 1970, was acquired by pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG in 2018 for a sum of $63 billion. Bayer took on Monsanto’s legal liabilities that included tens of thousands of personal injury claims relating to Roundup. 

The trial would have been the first Roundup case to be tried in a St. Louis courtroom. In January 2020, a lawsuit that consolidated the cases of four plaintiffs was also scheduled for trial in St. Louis but was indefinitely continued for settlement talks. 

Today’s canceled trial was scheduled in St. Louis because the lead plaintiff—Earl Neal—is a St. Louis County resident. Neal’s cancer claim is one of 138,000 filed. Of those, 107,000 have been resolved or deemed ineligible. 

Neal alleged that he developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a result of repeated exposure to Roundup while he was on the job in the 1990s, working for the St. Louis City Parks Department and St. Louis City Forestry Department. 

In 2020, Bayer pledged nearly $11 billion to resolve approximately 90,000 out of 125,000 Roundup existing claims as well as future ones. The judge overseeing the federal consolidation of Roundup cases (multidistrict litigation or MDL) has twice denied Bayer’s plan to resolve future Roundup lawsuits with a $2 billion settlement. 

The first Roundup lawsuit was filed in February 2017, less than one year after the World Health Organization’s main cancer research agency—the International Agency for Research on Cancer—classified the main active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, a probably human carcinogen. 

Juries found Monsanto liable for personal injury claims in the first three Roundup cancer trials. Each plaintiff was awarded tens of millions in damages. Bayer has appealed all three decisions. The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review the case of Dewayne “Lee” Johnson (a $287 million verdict; the award has been reduced two times and now stands at $20.5 million). 

In December 2021, the nation’s high court asked the U.S. Solicitor General to weigh in on whether the Court should review the verdict for Edwin Hardeman (an $80 million award; later reduced to $25 million). No decision has been announced. And last month, Bayer petitioned the Supreme Court to review a 2019 decision that initially awarded a California couple—Alva and Alberta Pilliod—$2 billion, a reward that was later reduced to $87 million.

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