Bayer wins label lawsuit, settles health & crop damage cases
Bayer and more than a dozen co-plaintiffs prevailed in a California lawsuit over labeling for the herbicide Roundup. In separate actions the company reached settlement agreements in more than 125,000 cases where plaintiffs alleged the herbicide caused health problems and other cases where farmers claimed dicamba drift caused damage to their crops.
Bayer acquired Roundup and its related litigation when it purchased Monsanto. Collectively, the settlements call for more than $11 billion in payouts from the Germany-based company.
In the U.S. District Court for Eastern California, Bayer challenged a California law requiring that Roundup labels warn consumers of potential cancer risks. Bayer was joined by co-plaintiffs The National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, United States Durum Growers Association, Agribusiness Association of Iowa, CropLife America, and the Agricultural Retailers Association and seven state or regional level ag organizations.
Judge William Shubb found that the cancer warning labels are misleading.
“The statement that glyphosate is ‘known to the state of California to cause cancer’ is misleading. Every regulator of which the court is aware, with the sole exception of the IARC [International Agency for Research on Cancer], has found that glyphosate does not cause cancer or that there is insufficient evidence to show that it does,” Shubb said.
In the group of cases where plaintiffs claim that exposure to Roundup led to them developing cancer, Bayer agreed to pay out between $8.8 billion and $9.6 billion, with an additional $1.25 billion set aside for potential future litigation. The class action lawsuit is overseen by the U.S. District Court of Northern California.
In the U.S. District Court of Eastern Missouri, Bayer agreed to pay out $300 million to soybean producers and additional amounts to growers of other crops allegedly damaged as a result of spray drift in the application of dicamba.