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Deadlines in Roundup Lawsuits Extended, As Mediation Continues to Settle Weedkiller Cancer Claims

  • Written by: Irvin Jackson
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As a court-appointed mediator continues to work with Bayer and plaintiffs lawyers to settle Roundup lawsuits filed by users of the controversial weedkiller who have developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma, the U.S. District Judge presiding over the litigation has agreed to push back various deadlines in the litigation and vacated a trial set to begin later this month.

Bayer and it’s Monsanto subsidiary currently face nearly 75,000 product liability lawsuits brought by individuals nationwide who claim that information about the cancer risk from Roundup has been withheld from consumers for decades.

Following massive losses in the first three cases to go before juries last year, Bayer has faced substantial pressure to negotiate Roundup settlements or another resolution that avoids additional trial dates set to begin throughout this year.

More than half a dozen state court cases have already been postponed amid continuing discussions between the parties and the prominent mediator Ken Feinberg, who has overseen many of the largest mass tort settlements in recent years, including the establishment of funds to resolve claims stemming from the BP oil spill, Volkswagen emissions scandal, General Motors ignition switch recall and others.

Given common questions of fact and law raised in claims filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide, the federal Roundup litigation has been centralized in the Northern District of California, where U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria is presiding over coordinated discovery and a series of early bellwether trials designed to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the cases. In addition, several large waves of claims are being prepared for remand back to U.S. District Courts nationwide for individual trial dates.

In a pretrial order (PDF) issued on Thursday, Judge Chhabria agreed to extend all Roundup lawsuit deadlines by 35 days, at the request of the settlement master. In a separate order (PDF) issued the same day, the Court announced that a second bellwether trial, which was set to begin March 25, will not go forward. No new date was scheduled for the trial, and Judge Chhabria indicated that no further continuances would be granted for the deadlines for bellwether claims.

For months, there has been speculation that Bayer is close to reaching settlement agreements with certain lawyers that may resolve most of all of the Roundup litigation. However, when releasing earnings information last month, the company indicates that no deal has been reached and that there is no firm time-line for negotiations.

Analysts have predicted that any settlement would not only require billions in compensation for individuals already diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, but the company will likely face continuing claims as other consumer continue to be diagnosed following prior exposure.

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1 comment

  1. victoria Reply

    The real reason Bayer is postponing trials is they are awaiting passage of perfect senate bill SB 591 aimed at changing approach to punitive damages. It passed in the Senate last Wed. and is headed to the House. It severely limits IF punitive damages can be paid at all.
    Interesting, Paul Singer (who’s Elliot Management own a stake in Bayer) has donated 24 Million to various Republican PACs and now is a fan of President Trump. The EPA also recently reiterated its approval of Glyphosate. The bil was sponsored by Sen. Bill White (R-Joplin), with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Note Monsanto home State and where a large portion of current litigation is in Missouri. Missouri House Republicans have introduced their own bill. SB 555 is part of an effort to limit when and how companies can be sued over product design defects. State Rep. Curtis Trent, R-Battlefield, is the bill’s sponsor. Bayer Chief Financial Officer Wolfgang Nickl affirmed that the Justice Department’s brief and the EPA’s decision played a role in Bayer’s pause in settlement negotiations. I feel sure these to bills by the Senate and the House have now played a part in the reversal of settlement momentum.

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