Bayer has agreed to pay $2 billion to resolve future Roundup cancer class-action lawsuits in a settlement filed in a federal court in California.
In June 2020, Bayer reached a settlement of between $8.8 billion and $9.6 billion to resolve current and future litigation on glyphosate and dicamba. But that agreement ran into legal troubles and has not been fully finalized. Now Bayer is trying again, this time focusing on a settlement just for future claims of injury from its glyphosate herbicide Roundup.
According to a Bayer news release, the settlement would establish a fund to pay between $5,000 to $200,000 to future plaintiffs who allege they developed cancer from glyphosate use. The settlement would make a total of $2 billion available and last four years.
The company would also create an advisory science panel “whose findings would not be preclusive but can be used as evidence in potential future litigation” involving class members.
“The plan also includes research and diagnostic programs that were part of the original class agreement,” Bayer said.
The company said it will work with EPA to “provide greater transparency” and access to glyphosate studies. That would include adding a reference link on the glyphosate labels to provide consumers with access to scientific studies and information.
“The class plan is intended to be one part of a holistic solution designed to provide further closure to the Monsanto Roundup litigation,” Bayer said.
Bayer acquired Roundup brands as part of its $63 billion purchase of Monsanto. Bayer continues to maintain that glyphosate is safe, regularly pointing out that the EPA and many other countries’ regulatory agencies support glyphosate’s continued use.
But during the past few years, Bayer has lost a number of lawsuits from plaintiffs who alleged their use and exposure to Roundup caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers.
In May 2019, a California jury awarded $2.055 billion in damages to a couple that has battled cancer after decades of using the product. The couple, both in their 70s, were each diagnosed with the same type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The court later reduced the damages to $86.7 million.
At the end of March 2019, a California jury awarded $80 million to a man with non-Hodgkin lymphoma who had used glyphosate at an animal refuge for nearly 30 years. A court later reduced the damages to $25.2 million.
In 2018, another jury in the state awarded $289 million to a groundskeeper with cancer who used the chemical. The award has since been reduced to $20.5 million.
EPA reapproved an interim registration of glyphosate in January 2020. The Rural Coalition, Organizacion en California de Lideres Campesinas, Farmworker Association of Florida, Beyond Pesticides and the Center for Food Safety filed a petition for review in March 2020. Those groups asked a federal court to vacate the decision.
They allege EPA violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act and violated the agency’s duties in the Endangered Species Act by not consulting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service before issuing the decision.
Most recently, EPA released a biological evaluation of glyphosate’s potential effect on endangered species and critical habitats, finding that it was “likely to adversely affect” 1,676 listed species and 759 critical habitats, the vast majority of the species and habitats the agency considered.
The agency’s findings mean glyphosate will have to undergo more reviews before its routine registration review, initiated in 2009, can be completed, most likely sometime in 2021, according to EPA estimates.