In this post, our Roundup lawyers will give you
- an update on where things stand in the Roundup class action lawsuit in June 2022 (including an update from the Shelton trial),
- the likely direction the Roundup litigation will likely take moving forward, and
- the expected future settlement amounts in the Bayer Roundup lawsuit (Phase 2)
30,000 Roundup Cases Left… and Counting
As of May 2022, Monsanto has reached settlement agreements in nearly 100,000 Roundup lawsuits. Monsanto paid approximately $11 billion. Bayer has accomplished this by negotiating block settlement arrangements with plaintiffs’ lawyers who have large numbers of cases in the litigation.
Although these settlements account for nearly 80% of all pending Roundup claims, there are still about 26,000 active Roundup lawsuits. Most of these lawsuits have been filed in state court. But there are still over 4,000 claims in the MDL Roundup class action lawsuit pending in California.
New Roundup lawsuits continue to get filed regularly. Our Roundup attorneys get calls and online contact forms from Roundup victims with NHL almost every day.
June 2022 Roundup Update
At this point, the focus in the Bayer NHL lawsuit is waiting for a jury verdict in St. Louis in Shelton.
May 2022 Roundup Lawsuit Update
Huge win on May 10, 2022. The Biden Administration does not support Bayer’s appeal.
The MDL class action lawsuit is in a holding pattern. But the next Roundup lawsuit to go to trial will be Allan Shelton’s case. This herbicide suit is underway right now in state court in Missouri. Roundup lawsuits are in state court in Missouri because Monsanto is based in Missouri.
Will that case actually go to verdict? I doubt it. My take is that Bayer will handle this one like the last Roundup trial set in St. Louis, settling before the jury gets the case. But who knows?
As of May 24, 2022, there is still no verdict in Shelton.
What Are Facts of Shelton v. Monsanto?
Kansas City native Allan Shelton was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma before he was 30-years-old. He began using Roundup when he was 10-years-old.
Mr. Shelton’s Roundup lawyer told the jury in opening statements that glyphosate is ubiquitous and Monsanto is to blame.
Moving Towards Another Roundup Settlement?
As I talk about in the April 2022 Roundup update below, Bayer is tying down a lot of Roundup litigation loose ends. What remains are the 30,000 outstanding lawsuits. I think Bayer will agree with the plaintiffs’ lawyers on a settlement amount before another trial. My prediction is also that this happens before the Supreme Court decides whether to take up Monsanto’s appeal.
April 2022 Roundup Lawsuit Update
In addition to the 30,000 or so pending Roundup cancer lawsuits that remain unresolved, Bayer has been defending a consumer class action lawsuit. This Roundup lawsuit alleges the pesticide was illegally marketed and sold and was therefore overpriced. I don’t understand these consumer class action lawsuits and have never liked how they usually turn out – the victims getting pennies while the lawyers make a to of money.
Anyway, these lawsuits seek partial refunds for the countless consumers who bought Roundup over the years. The parties recently submitted a proposed settlement under which Bayer would establish a fund of $45 million to resolve these consumer claims.
The MDL judge will only approve the settlement if adequate steps are taken to clarify to plaintiffs that the settlement does not prevent them from later filing a Roundup cancer case if they are diagnosed with NHL.
In other Roundup news, Bayer continues to await word from the Supreme Court on whether the justices will even hear Bayer’s argument on its appeal from the verdict in the Hardeman case. Both the MDL judge and the Ninth Circuit have previously rejected Bayer’s preemption argument.
In December, the Supreme Court declined to either grant or deny Bayer’s cert. petition and instead invited the Biden administration to weigh in with its own brief. So far, however, Biden’s Solicitor General has not filed anything and there is no deadline for when the court has to decide. Some people believe we can expect a response from the Biden administration in the coming months.
Another interesting piece of Roundup news this month is whether Roundup will get pulled from the market because of the risks it causes to endangered species. This would be like sending Al Capone to jail for tax evasion, right?
January 2022 Roundup Lawsuit Update
On December 9, 2021, a Roundup trial resulted in another defense victory for Bayer after a jury in California ruled that the plaintiff’s cancer was not caused by her years of Roundup use. It was a fairly classic NHL Roundup lawsuit. The plaintiff, Donnetta Stephens, was a woman in her 70s who was diagnosed with lymphoma after years of using Roundup in her home gardening hobby.
The trial was conducted entirely via Zoom video call and dragged on for nearly 3 months. This is a poor bellwether trial because of the insanity of trying to have such a complex trial by Zoom. The emotion, the feel for the witnesses – you don’t get that on Zoom as we all know from using it for the last 20 months.
So our Roundup lawyers are still as bullish on the expected individual settlement amounts for Round Two of the Roundup lawsuits as we have ever been.
Not too long ago, Roundup was the most popular weedkiller in the world used by homeowners and professional farmers alike. But then many scientific studies started coming out suggesting that prolonged exposure to glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) might cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers. These studies led certain international health organizations to add glyphosate to their list of possible human carcinogens, sparking a rapid downward spiral for Roundup.
The identification of glyphosate as a possible carcinogen led to a wave of Roundup lawsuits by plaintiffs claiming that their use of Roundup caused them to develop lymphoma (and other diseases). Eventually, every Roundup lawsuit in federal courts was consolidated into a new mass tort MDL in the Northern District of California. The Roundup MDL gradually grew to over 100,000 cases, with thousands of additional Roundup cases pending in state courts in California.
Huge Roundup Verdicts Broke Monsanto’s Resolve
Monsanto had what I think is a somewhat unique corporate resolve to ignore the evidence that Roundup causes NHL. They started off relying on unreliable data to prove their hypothesis and when the evidence because clear, Monsanto stuck their heads in the sand. I’m convinced this is how history will write this story.
After years of discovery, that unshakable resolve crumbled. The first Roundup cases went to trial with disastrous results for Bayer. The first 2 trials resulted in verdicts of $289 million and $80 million. The third trial ended in an eye-popping verdict for the plaintiff of $2 billion.
These verdicts effectively broke Bayer’s resolve and they immediately shifted their focus on negotiating settlements, eventually setting aside $16 billion to cover settlements of pending claims.
Most Pending Roundup Cases Have Been Settled
In March 2022, Bayer told investors that the company had reached tentative settlement agreements in roughly 98,000 pending Roundup lawsuits. This accounts for nearly 80% of all pending Roundup cases. Bayer has brokered these settlements primarily by negotiating block settlement arrangements with lawyers who have large numbers of cases in the litigation.
Points System for Monsanto’s Roundup Settlement
The Roundup settlements are somewhat complicated because they create a detailed point scoring system designed to rank cases into settlement tiers based on the strength of claims and severity of injuries. Cases specific factors such as type of cancer, treatment outcome, age of the victim, estimated earnings capacity, etc., are awarded point scores. Individual cases are then placed into settlement tiers based on point scores and cases with higher scores get a bigger payout. Cases with lower point scores end up getting much smaller payouts.
30,000 Roundup Lawsuits Remain
Although Bayer has entered into agreements to settle 80% of the pending Roundup claims, this still leaves over 26,000 currently active Roundup lawsuits that have not been settled. Moreover, new Roundup lawsuits continue to get filed regularly as new individuals are diagnosed.
Example of a Recent Roundup Lawsuit
Ohio resident Gene Wyatt became one of the most recent plaintiffs in the ongoing Roundup litigation. Wyatt filed a Roundup lawsuit in the Southern District of Ohio against Monsanto on November 18, 2021. Wyatt’s case was subsequently transferred to the Roundup MDL in the Northern District of California.
Wyatt alleges that he was regularly exposed to Roundup while using it as part of his job with the Ohio Department of Transportation in Washington Courthouse, Ohio from 2001 to 2011. Spraying Roundup from a vegetation applicator to control weeds is part of Wyatt’s regular job duties. In January 2015, 5 years after his 10-year period of occupational Roundup exposure, Wyatt was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Wyatt’s lawsuit alleges that his leukemia was caused by his 10 years of exposure to Roundup.
The Future of Roundup Lawsuits
While Bayer continues to work on settling these remaining Roundup cases, the company is telling investors that future Roundup liabilities will depend on the outcome of the company’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Future liability has been one of the biggest issues for Bayer in the Roundup litigation. It may take years or even decades for Roundup users to develop lymphoma. This means Bayer could face a steady stream of new Roundup lawsuits for the next 20 years. This type of “long tail” tort liability can be a nightmare for publicly traded corporations like Bayer.
Initially, Bayer sought to deal with future liability issues through a controversial global settlement arrangement that would have stayed and potentially frozen all future Roundup lawsuits. This proposal met fierce opposition and was rejected by the MDL back in May.
Bayer has now adopted a 2 prong strategy for limiting its future Roundup liability. First, Bayer announced that it would pull glyphosate-based Roundup from retail shelves at the start of 2023. The original Roundup will be replaced by a new version that does not contain glyphosate. This move will effectively cap any future Roundup liability years down the line.
The second prong of Bayer’s strategy is based on winning an appeal to the Supreme Court in the Hardeman case. Hardeman was the very first Roundup bellwether trial that resulted in a massive verdict. Bayer has been appealing the Hardeman in the hopes of winning a game-changing legal argument. Bayer is arguing that the Roundup claims should be preempted by federal law because the EPA has found that cancer warnings are not required for glyphosate. If Bayer can get an appellate court to accept this legal argument, it would effectively block many future Roundup claims.
Bayer has already presented this argument to the 9th Circuit and lost. Now Bayer is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the issue. In August Bayer filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court in the Hardeman appeal.
Bayer is holding out hope that the appeal to the Supreme Court will save them, but the company already has a solid backup plan. If the Supreme Court declines to hear the case or rejects Bayer’s legal argument, Bayer has plans to set up an administrative process to handle future claims and has already set aside $4 billion to cover the cost. (Get an update on the Supreme Court appeal.)
Roundup Lawsuit Questions and Answers
When Will Roundup Victims Get Their Settlement Money?
That is the tragedy in all of this. Many Roundup NHL victims just what to get their settlement money and put all of this behind them. For these people, this is all very unfair. But the judge feels compelled that he must be fair to everyone, including future Roundup victims.
What is the average payout for a Roundup lawsuit?
The average settlement payouts for Roundup lawsuits in the higher settlement tiers has been around $100,000 to $160,000.
Has anyone won a lawsuit against Roundup?
Yes. The first 3 Roundup lawsuits to go to trial all resulted in massive victories for the plaintiffs: Johnson v. Monsanto (2018) = $289.2 million Hardeman v. Monsanto (2019) = $80.2 million Pilliod v. Monsanto (2019) = $2.055 billion
How many Roundup lawsuits have been settled?
We don’t know for certain how many Roundup lawsuits have been settled. However, as of October 2021, Bayer has indicated that roughly 75% of the 125,000 pending cases have been settled and are awaiting formal dismissal.
Do You Have to Pay Taxes on Roundup Settlement Checks?
No. With a few exceptions, settlements in personal injury lawsuits are not taxable as income. So you do not pay taxes on your Roundup settlement check.
Looking Back in April 2022
The rest of this blog post was written in the spring of 2021. Much of this is outdated now but we leave it up because it is of interest to so many.
Over a year ago, Monsanto settled 100,000 Roundup lawsuits that allege the weedkiller Roundup causes NHL cancer. The settlement agreement still needs to be approved by the MDL judge (U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria).
On Tuesday, however, Judge Chhabria issued a set of piercing questions in advance of the approval hearing. Judge Chhabria’s questions raise major concerns about the validity of the Roundup settlement proposal and cast doubt on whether the settlement will get approved in its current form.
Roundup Future Claim Compensation Fund
Under the terms of the proposed settlement, Bayer would pay $10.9 billion. Most of that money ($9.6 billion) will be paid to resolve the existing 125,000 claims involving exposure to Roundup before February 2021. However, the remaining $2 billion will be set aside for a highly controversial plan for dealing with claims based on “future” exposure to Roundup.
Some of the $2 billion will be used to create a “compensation fund” for a special class of individuals who were exposed to Roundup before February 2021, but have not yet been diagnosed with cancer and filed a lawsuit. Under the arrangement, anyone in this “class” would have access to free medical exams and could receive $200,000 in compensation if they are diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the future.
In his filing earlier this week, Judge Chharbria raised the following questions about this aspect of the settlement proposal:
- If the Court understands the settlement correctly, it binds anyone exposed to Roundup before February 3, 2021 (assuming they do not opt-out), but contemplates that the compensation fund and medical monitoring program can be terminated a few years after the settlement is approved. Why would it be in the interest of people exposed to Roundup before February 2021 to bind themselves to a fund and program that expires so quickly?
- How should the Court evaluate whether the amount in the compensation fund is sufficient?
- One way to evaluate the proposed settlement is to compare it to the status quo, which is that plaintiffs continue to sue and Monsanto continues to negotiate settlements with them. This comparison appears to be the primary focus of the briefs. But another way to evaluate the proposed settlement is to compare it to other more conventional arrangements. From the standpoint of the class members, how does the proposed settlement compare to an arrangement in which Monsanto puts a warning on its label sufficient to foreclose future claims and establishes a fund that offers compensation as a potential alternative to litigation?
“Science Panel” For Future Roundup Claims
By far the most contested aspect of the proposed Roundup settlement is the plan to create a “scientific panel” to study the evidence and issue a definitive finding as to whether or not Roundup causes cancer. The finding of this scientific panel would be fully binding on ALL future claimants and class members. If the panel finds that there is no evidence that Roundup causes cancer, future Roundup claims would be effectively precluded.
This aspect of the settlement proposal has drawn widespread opposition and objections from various fronts. In previous hearings, Judge Chhabria has expressed significant doubts as to whether the science panel proposal was legally valid. In his filing earlier this week, Judge Chharbria cut right to the very heart of the issue on this in his last question:
Why is it in the interest of the class to agree in advance to the admission in future trials of the conclusions of a court-appointed independent science panel, given how well the trials have been going for plaintiffs without such a panel?(Video) RoundUp Cancer Lawsuit Update July 6, 2022 - TorHoerman Law
The answer to this question is obvious. It is clearly NOT in the best interests of future claimants to agree to allow a science panel to preclude their claims in advance. This seems less like a question and more like a statement by Judge Chharbia as to why he may not approve the Roundup settlement.
We will know more soon. This is a tough balancing act for this judge. People want their Roundup settlement money now. These victims have truly suffered. It is tragic that they still have to wait for their money. But this is complicated and there are many competing interests the judge must juggle.
UPDATE: Judge Balks at Approval and Suggests Warning Labels
On Wednesday, May 19, 2021, Judge Chhabria held the hearing on the request for preliminary approval of the multi-billion-dollar Roundup settlement proposal. Although Judge Chhabria punted on the request for preliminary approval at the hearing, he did seem to be slowly inching closer and gave the parties some suggestions on how to get to the finish line.
Two other key things came out of the May 19 hearing. First, it was explained that the future claims portion of the proposed settlement would cover 2 types or “classes” of Roundup claims.
Class 1 would include Roundup users who have already been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma but have not yet retained a lawyer and filed suit. Judge Chharbia speculated that this class would include a high number of migrant farmworkers. Class 2 under the future claims settlement proposal would include anyone with exposure to Roundup before February 2021 and who is diagnosed with lymphoma at some point in the future.
Judge Chhabria suggested that the proposed settlement deal currently on the table “could potentially be reasonable for class one,” because it adequately notifies class members of their rights and provides for compensation of up to $200,000 per claim.
Concerning Class 2, however, Judge Chhabria expressed major concerns with the validity and reasonableness of the settlement proposal. Judge Chhabria clearly stated that he was not willing to approve the current draft of the settlement and he suggested that the parties go back and make some adjustments.
The controversial proposal for handling future claims (Class 2) has been a sticking point for Bayer in the settlement negotiations. Bayer thinks the arrangement will prevent a continuing stream of Roundup claims into the distant future while keeping its popular product in stores.
Judge Chhabria strongly suggested that Bayer could achieve this goal by agreeing to put very strong warning labels on Roundup going forward. Bayer has resisted this in the past. Why resist a path that would put future Roundup claims to bed? Profits. Putting a cancer warning on a product like Roundup will decrease sales. Bayer knows that.
UPDATE: October 2021 – Judge Denies Future Claims Proposal While Bayer Continues to Settle Pending Cases
As predicted by Judge Chhabria, Bayer’s proposal for resolving “future claims” in the Roundup litigation was simply too problematic. After approval for the plan was formally denied, Bayer’s defense team quickly abandoned the idea and changed strategies. Bayer has now announced that it will stop selling glyphosate-based Roundup to retail consumers beginning in 2023. The company also set aside another $4 billion to cover liabilities for future Roundup claims.
Meanwhile, Bayer has continued to negotiate large block settlements of pending Roundup cases. The company advised investors that it has earmarked about $12 billion for the settlement of roughly 125,000 pending claims, many of which have already been settled and are waiting for dismissal.
Will the Individual States Ban Roundup Pesticide?
Congress is as dysfunctional as always. But some states may ban Roundup on their own. In late November 2021, a newly created commission in Massachusetts is considering restrictions on the use of Roundup because it has been linked to cancer. Many states may ban non-commercial use of Roundup before Monsanto takes Roundup off the market as planned in 2023.
Random Roundup Settlement Tea Leaf
Bayer announced in November 2021, that Liam Condon, the head of its crop science unit, would resign at the end of 2021.
This might be a stretch on my part to find some hidden Roundup settlement meaning in this. I have no insider information. But getting rid of the old guard of leadership who felt compelled to defend Roundup no matter what may be a good sign for settlement talks. New leadership is more likely to say those were the mistakes of the past. That mentality would make it easier for Monsanto to get on with it and settle the remaining 30,000 Roundup lawsuits.
Call a Roundup Lawyer Today
If you need a Roundup lawyer to fight against Monsanto, call us today at 800-553-8082. There is a deadline to file that is a really big deal. So call our lawyer or call another lawyer today. Don’t wait. You can also reach out to us online.