US Supreme Court Won’t Hear Bayer’s Roundup Petition

23.06.2022 - After months of anticipation, the US Supreme Court has deflated Bayer’s hopes that the court’s conservative majority would vote to hear its appeal to overturn a $25 million appeals court verdict in favor of Edwin Hardeman.

The California man blames non-Hodgkin lymphoma on the former Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide.

The German-multinational agrochemicals  and pharmaceuticals group, which bought out the US agribusiness giant in 2018, had also sought to clarify whether the absence of national labeling requirements for crop protection products supported its lawyers’ stance that US states were prevented from doing so.

In May this year, the administration of US president Joe Biden urged the court not to hear the appeal, arguing that the even if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not require warning labels, states are free to  do so.

On Jun. 21, the nine-member panel said it would not hear the case, after taking it from the docket without explanation a week earlier. The justices largely followed the arguments of Biden’s solicitor general, Elizabeth Prelogar.

In rejecting the petition, the justices took away a crucial argument the German group had hoped to leverage in fighting a huge backlog of claims against from US cancer sufferers.  Bayer must now revisit a more than $10 million plan of action devised last year after a San Francisco, California, judged declared its proposed compensation plan to be inadequate.

Another court meanwhile has handed Bayer potentially more issues to defend itself against, order the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reexamine its Trump-era finding that glyphosate is not a human carcinogen.

Reacting to the Supreme Court’s inaction, Bayer said it undermines companies’ ability to rely on official actions taken by expert regulatory agencies. This, it said, forces manufacturers to deal with diverse labeling requirements in each of the 50 US states.

In one of its first moves following the latest legal setback after four appeals court decision in its favor so far this year, the group is expected to fall back on another plan it announced last year, namely reformulating the Roundup version sold to consumers to exclude glyphosate.

While most commenting on the Supreme Court’s inaction said that a formula change would be Bayer’s best means of avoiding future lawsuits, many observers predicted that the court’s refusal to hear the case will unleash a fresh wave of lawsuits from cancer sufferers who used Roundup in the past.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist


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