Third Roundup Trial Postponed to early 2020
The next pending US lawsuit charging that Monsanto glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide caused the plaintiff’s cancer has been postponed until February 10, 2020. On Oct. 6, Monsanto successor Bayer confirmed the delay reported by the German Handelsblatt newspaper earlier in the day.
Bayer had expected to defend the case, Winston v. Monsanto, in St. Louis, Missouri – home base of the former US agrochemicals giant – on Oct. 15, 2019. It is now one of three Roundup-related trials to be postponed as court-appointed mediator Kenneth Feinberg tries to negotiate a settlement between the German group and US plaintiffs.
Handelsblatt noted that Feinberg has considerable expertise in settling complex and controversial claims, negotiating compensation for US soldiers exposed to the defoliant Agent Orange in Vietnam as well as for victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in Texas and survivors of the attack on the World Trade Center on Sept 11, 2001
Judges earlier moved two others into January 2020. Commentators are increasingly interpreting the delays as signs that the German group may be moving closer to settling the remaining Roundup cases out of court.
In mid-July, Bayer said the number of Roundup-related lawsuit had risen to 18,400.
In early August, the Bloomberg news agency said Bayer was proposing to pay $6-8 billion to settle all of the cases, as fallout from the Roundup discussion has erased more than $30 billion of its market value, prompted an unprecedented shareholder vote of no confidence in its management and fueled speculation about a breakup.
Ertheran Cousin Named to Bayer Board
Responding to criticism by large shareholders that its supervisory board does not have sufficient expertise to assess the difficulties the German group is facing as a result of its 2018 acquisition of Monsanto, Bayer recently appointed Ertharin Cousin, a former director of the United Nations World Food Program, to the board. She succeeds Thomas Ebeling,
Ms. Cousin, a lawyer, served as the US ambassador to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture from 2009 to 2012, and held several positions in the private sector, such as head of public affairs at US supermarket chain Albertsons.
Supervisory board chairman and former CEO Werner Wenning said the new board member’s “expertise and international experience at the interface between government, business, academia and civil society” will give Bayer a new perspective.