Despite recent attempts by German drug and pesticide maker Bayer AG to end the legal disputes that have been plaguing the company since its 2018 acquisition of Roundup maker Monsanto, Bayer still faces tens of thousands of claims that its blockbuster weedkiller causes cancer. Still, according to the latest news in the ongoing Roundup cancer litigation, the company has made “substantial progress” towards resolving these claims, nearly 2,000 of which are consolidated in federal court in San Francisco. Thousands of other cases involving Roundup weedkiller and its potential connection to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are pending in state courts nationwide and thousands more cases are expected to be filed in the future, as Roundup remains on the market in the United States.
These Roundup cases involve claims that exposure to the weedkiller causes cancer. Roundup is a glyphosate-based weedkiller that was first introduced to the market in the 1970s by an American agricultural chemical company called Monsanto. Originally developed for use by farmers and agricultural workers, Roundup quickly became a popular household weedkiller among consumers hoping to rid their lawns and gardens of weeds. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that concerns began to emerge about the safety of Roundup, as studies uncovered disturbing evidence that exposure to glyphosate may increase the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers in users. These concerns hit a fever pitch in 2015, when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) categorized glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen.”
Despite growing evidence of a potential link between glyphosate and the development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Bayer maintains its position that Roundup is safe for human use and does not cause cancer. These claims are in direct contradiction to the thousands of product liability lawsuits that allege Monsanto and Bayer knew about the potential link between Roundup and cancer and failed to warn consumers about the dangers of using the weedkiller. As a matter of fact, a treasure trove of internal documents released during the Roundup litigation illustrate efforts by Monsanto to, among other things, manipulate scientific data related to glyphosate’s safety and collude with the EPA to conceal the potential risk of cancer from glyphosate from the public.
Bayer has already resolved an estimated 88,500 out of 125,000 total filed and unfiled Roundup claims and the company says that it is “fully committed” to settling the litigation. “We’re not there yet but we are certainly making substantial progress,” said court-appointed mediator Kenneth Feinberg, at a Zoom hearing in San Francisco federal court in November. “It’s just a question of when and how quickly they’ll get resolved.” U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, the judge overseeing the federal Roundup cases, implemented a temporary stay late last year, giving Bayer until November 2 to settle the remaining lawsuits in the federal Roundup litigation. According to Bayer, a little more than half of the 3,787 cases were resolved, leaving 1,861 cases that could move toward trials.
When Bayer acquired Monsanto in 2018, the company inherited liability for the Roundup cancer lawsuits, which began pouring in just a few years ago. Bayer suffered three major losses in Roundup trials in 2018 and 2019, including the very first lawsuit to go to trial alleging that glyphosate (Roundup) causes cancer. The case involved a school groundskeeper who developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after routinely spraying Roundup around the school grounds from 2012 to 2015, sometimes for several hours a day. In August 2018, a San Francisco jury awarded the plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson, a staggering $289 million for his medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering, a verdict that was ultimately reduced to $78.5 million.
Last June, Bayer announced that the company would pay nearly $11 billion to resolve the bulk of the existing Roundup claims, plus another $1.25 billion for future claims that may be filed by Roundup users who develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the years to come. In November, the company increased the projected cost of future Roundup claims to $2 billion. If you or someone you love was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or another type of cancer after using Roundup, you are not alone. Bayer has already settled thousands of Roundup cancer lawsuits, but there are still thousands of cases pending against the company over Roundup’s cancer risks, plus any potential claims that may be filed by consumers who develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the future. For more information about the ongoing Roundup cancer litigation, contact Consumer Safety Watch today.