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Facing more than 125,000 Roundup lawsuits brought by former users of the controversial weedkiller diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and other forms of cancer, Bayer has announced that it will pay more than $10 billion to settle about 75% of the current claims pending nationwide.
In a statement issued today, Bayer indicates that the settlement will include payments of $8.8 billion to $9.6 billion to resolve the current litigation, with a $1.25 billion fund established that it intends to use to address future claims involving individuals who claim they were diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma following exposure to the herbicide.
The agreement leaves about 25,000 claims unresolved, which may require several billions in additional funduing. In addition, it is widely expected that the manufacturer will face years of lawsuits over failure to warn about the link between Roundup and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, as former users continue to face future risks of being diagnosed with the cancer.
Over the past year, Bayer has faced substantial pressure to negotiate Roundup settlements, after it was hit with massive losses in the first three “bellwether” cases to go to trial int he U.S., which were viewed as a gauge for how juries may respond to similar evidence and testimony that would be repeated throughout the litigation.
After seeing internal documents and memos that highlighted the failure of Bayer’s Monanto subsidiary to disclose cancer risks associated with Roundup, each of the first three juries returned multi-million dollar verdicts, including punitive damages designed to punish the manufacturer for recklessly disregarding the health and safety of consumers.
Settlement negotiations heated up earlier this year, as a series of additional cases were set to go to trial nationwide throughout 2020. However, Bayer informed investors in April 2020 that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic had slowed progress, both due to difficulties caused by social distancing procedures and because the company attempted to take a harder stance due to economic problems resulting from the outbreak.
During the negotiations, the total number of Roundup cancer cases being presented against Bayer has continued to steadily climb, and the ultimate agreement is in line with the amount analysts estimated prior to the pandemic that the company would be forced to pay to resolve the litigation.
Together with news of that Bayer settled Roundup claims, the company also announced that it has agreed to pay $400 million in dicamba drift settlements to resolve lawsuits brought by farmers who experienced crop damage, as well as about $820 million to resolve litigation involving PCB water contamination.