Bayer Agrees to Delay two more Roundup trials
Bayer has reached agreement with plaintiffs in two of its California Roundup lawsuits to freeze litigation over the alleged cancer-causing effects of the glyphosate-based herbicide to allow more time for talks on a settlement.
Other trials initially scheduled to be heard before the end of 2019 have also been postponed, news agencies said.
In the first 2020 Roundup case, scheduled to be heard Jan. 15 in California’s Lake County Superior Court, a delay of around six months was agreed. A second case due to begin on Jan. 21 in the California Superior Court for Alameda County has been postponed for an indefinite period.
After initial resistance, the German group, which acquired Monsanto for $63 million in August last year and inherited the legal challenges, said in October this year that it faced lawsuits from around 42,700 U.S. plaintiffs, up from 18,400 in July.
In presenting third-quarter financial result in late October, CEO Werner Baumann chalked up the “significant increase” in the numbers to television advertising by US lawyers specialized in class action suits.
According to a report in the US financial newspaper Wall Street Journal, Roundup is the top product targeted by mass-tort lawyers and marketing companies in recent years. Between January and September 2019, the herbicíde featured in 654,280 broadcast and cable-TV advertisements costing advertisers an estimated $77.8 million The number of advertisements was four times that of the unnamed next most-targeted product or drug.
In contrast to Bayer’s initial reluctance to tale this route earlier in the litigation stage, most analysts now think the group will increasingly look for out-of-court settlements. Before the surge in the number of cases, most educated guesses hovered around the $12 billion mark.
Baumann said earlier that only “financially reasonable” settlements would be acceptable.
Early next year, Bayer anticipates that appeals courts will begin reversing or adjusting the three US judgments already concluded, which altogether awarded $2.4 billion to plaintiffs.