Roundup Settlement Stalls Near the Finish Line – Billions at Stake

February 26, 2020

It appears to be in everyone’s interest to settle the ongoing litigation regarding the Roundup Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma link and to speak with a Roundup Lawyer as soon as possible.  If a global Roundup settlement is in the works why is the case not settled and what are the next steps.

Bloomberg and other major media outlets reported that with the assistance of a prominent mediator Bayer (who inherited this dangerous product from Monsanto) was closing in on resolution with the plaintiffs’ firms for a settlement nearing, If not over 10 Billion Dollars.  Here are the forces at play that may be holding the settlement back.

First, let’s discuss the case.  It involves individuals who had extended exposure to Roundup, a product containing glyphosate which according to some science  has been linked to a type of cancer known as Non Hodgkin Lymphoma. (Sometimes misspelled as Non-Hogkin’s Lymphoma, NonHodgkins Lymphoma), but commonly abbreviated as NHL.  Here are some of the subtypes of Non Hodgkin Lymphoma which may be caused by long term exposure to Roundup:

  • RoundUp Related Large B-cell Lymphoma
  • RoundUp Related Marginal Zone B-cell Lymphoma
  • RoundUp Related Follicular Lymphoma
  • RoundUp Related Mantle cell Lymphoma
  • RoundUp Related Cutaneous T-cell Lymphomas
  • RoundUp Related Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma/Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
  • RoundUp Related Burkitt’s Lymphoma\
  • RoundUp Related Central Nervous System Lymphoma

For some reason, there are very vocal supports of Roundup who angrily reply to blogs like this that its completely safe and that the science behind the Glyphosate Roundup link is weak.  Let’s break down that argument for a second.  Everyone can objectively agree that companies like Bayer can afford and utilize some of the best, most skilled lawyers in the country.  They have excellent representation, some of the best money can buy in terms of the RoundUp lawyers to defend the litigation.  The Plaintiffs have the burden of proof, meaning, Bayer does not need to prove anything about Roundup, the Plaintiffs have to establish the Roundup – NHL link.  Multiple juries after hearing the Roundup litigation with Bayer putting forth the best defense that money can buy, after hearing the objective Roundup evidence,  concluded that there is a link between Roundup and cancer, specifically Non Hodgkin Lymphoma and hit Bayer/Monsanto with verdicts in the tens of millions/hundreds of millions of dollars.  With thousands of cases behind the ones already tried a company can not continue to function with open ended liability like this, so resolution is the logical way to go.

So why is there no announced Roundup Settlement and Roundup case values yet?  Why can’t the Roundup settlement cross the finish line?

First, Bayer may be under the belief that they will obtain relief from the appellate courts.  Although the juries and trial courts have not upended verdicts against them, they may be hopeful that appellate courts will side with them.  Of course, they are facing the stark reality that if they don’t the value of the case keeps going up.

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Second, Bayer is understandably trying to figure out how to completely shut down this liability.  In the past when there is a mass tort settlement, there generally is a label change of the product and then with the new warning about, for example the Roundup – Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma link, the company will assert it is no longer liable after that date.  Bayer tried to modify the label to cut off its liability, but allegedly the federal government, denied their request, which essentially denies consumers the right to understand that there may be a link, and ironically keeps the liability open ended.  Conceptually, the date the government declined the label change may artificially generate a date where certain theories of liability no longer exist if consumers purchased Roundup for example after October 1, 2019.  If Bayer is paying billions to end the liability, it wants to end the liability, and keeping their exposure open-ended is not a great solution.

If this follows the pattern Bayer exercised during the Yaz, Yasmin birth control litigation, the first few waves of settlements will have premium value.  This is consistent with the pattern of litigation and the belief that firms will advance the cases with the best proofs first and thus they may be entitled to a premium.  Then after the first waves of payments,  Bayer will tighten up its belt regarding criteria on payments of cases and further value.

Bayer, also according to news reports about the private mediation, is trying to neutralize plaintiff’s firms like ours and allegedly introducing a settlement term that restricts a law firm’s practice and prohibits them from taking new cases. That is a non-starter for most law firms, including ours.  If we hypothetically asked Bayer’s attorneys to no longer defend any company that our plaintiff ever sues again in exchange for the settlement, they will look at us like we have three heads.  Similarly, rules prohibit a restraint on practice.  Bayer can tell us they won’t settle any future cases, but they can’t say to stop alerting consumers that they may have rights if they used Roundup and were exposed to Roundup. So, in short, the Roundup Lawyer Commercials that you keep seeing will probably still endure, unless there is a global settlement mechanism that contemplates future cases as well.

Notwithstanding all the information and speculation contained herein, if you or a loved one were exposed to Roundup and were diagnosed with any type of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma you should speak with a Roundup Lawyer as soon as possible.  If there is a Roundup Settlement announced, payments may only be available for claimants that retained counsel before a certain date.  Call our Round Up Law Firm at (877) 561-0000 to learn your rights.