Bayer Reaches $10.9 Billion Settlement with Roundup, Dicamba Plaintiffs
June 27, 2020
Bayer has announced “a series of agreements that will substantially resolve major outstanding Monsanto litigation,” including payments of up to $10.9 billion to settle current and future Roundup claims against the company and $400 million to settle dicamba drift damage complaints.
“The company will make a payment of $8.8 billion to $9.6 billion to resolve the current Roundup litigation, including an allowance expected to cover unresolved claims, and $1.25 billion to support a separate class agreement to address potential future litigation,” Bayer said in a news release.
The Roundup agreements "will bring closure to approximately 75% of the current Roundup litigation involving approximately 125,000 filed and unfiled claims overall," the company said.
The settlement does not cover the three cases in California that have gone to trial involving Dewayne Johnson, Edwin Hardeman and Alva and Alberta Pilliod. Those “will continue through the appeals process and are not covered by the settlement,” Bayer said. “It is important for the company to continue these cases as the appeals will provide legal guidance going forward.”
Unexpectedly, the company also announced it had reached a mass tort agreement to settle dicamba litigation with plaintiffs who have alleged dicamba drift damaged their crops. It also announced “a series of agreements that resolve cases representing most of the company’s exposure to PCB water litigation. Monsanto legally manufactured PCBs until ceasing their production in 1977. One agreement establishes a class that includes all local governments with EPA permits involving water discharges impaired by PCBs. Bayer will pay a total of approximately $650 million to the class, which will be subject to court approval.”
"At the same time, the company has entered into separate agreements with the attorneys general of New Mexico, Washington, and the District of Columbia to resolve similar PCB claims," Bayer said. "For these agreements, which are separate from the class, Bayer will make payments that together total approximately $170 million."
Regarding dicamba, “The company will pay up to a total of $400 million to resolve the multi-district litigation pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri and claims for the 2015-2020 crop years,” Bayer said. ”Claimants will be required to provide proof of damage to crop yields and evidence that it was due to dicamba in order to collect. The company expects a contribution from its co-defendant, BASF, towards this settlement.”
The dicamba settlement does not involve Bader Farms, a peach operation in Missouri that a jury awarded $250 million in punitive damages earlier this year.
Bayer CEO Werner Baumann said the Roundup settlement “is the right action at the right time for Bayer to bring a long period of uncertainty to an end. It resolves most current claims and puts in place a clear mechanism to manage risks of potential future litigation.”
He added the settlement “is financially reasonable when viewed against the significant financial risks of continued, multi-year litigation and the related impacts to our reputation and to our business. The decision to resolve the Roundup litigation enables us to focus fully on the critical supply of healthcare and food. It will also return the conversation about the safety and utility of glyphosate-based herbicides to the scientific and regulatory arena and to the full body of science.”
Court-appointed mediator Ken Feinberg said the Roundup agreements “are designed as a constructive and reasonable resolution to a unique litigation. The separate, independent settlements of the current claims are unique and a tribute to Bayer. The significant progress made to date — which exceeds the initial participation rates of other claims resolution proceedings — provides a robust framework that will enable the parties to bring closure to the current Roundup litigation in due course.”
“It has been a long journey, but we are very pleased that we’ve achieved justice for the tens of thousands of people who, through no fault of their own, are suffering from Non-Hodgkin lymphoma after using a product Monsanto assured them was safe,” said Robin Greenwald, the Practice Group Chair, Environmental Pollution and Consumer Protection, at Weitz & Luxenberg, one of the firms representing Roundup plaintiffs.
The firm was the first to sue Monsanto in fall 2015, alleging that exposure to Roundup was causing NHL “in tens of thousands of Americans from farmers to landscapers and maintenance workers to homeowners,” Weitz & Luxenberg said. The firm was co-lead counsel in the Roundup multi-district products liability litigation in the Northern District of California before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria.
“The settlement comes as Weitz & Luxenberg was preparing for trial dates that had already been set for 33 of those plaintiffs,” the firm said.