Last Wednesday, Bayer announced it would pay between $ 10.1 billion and $ 10.9 billion to resolve current and potential future Roundup ™ disputes. The agreement will result in approximately 75% of Roundup ™’s current litigation being resolved, with a total of approximately 125.00 claims submitted and not filed, many of which claim that Roundup ™’s active ingredient, glyphosate, Caused cancer. The company will pay $ 8.8 to $ 9.6 billion to resolve current Roundup ™ disputes and unresolved claims. $ 1.25 billion is earmarked for potential future litigation. Those participating in the agreement must dismiss their cases or agree not to submit any documents. The agreements contain no admission of liability or wrongdoing on the part of Bayer. (Roundup ™ was developed by Monsanto, which Bayer bought for $ 63 billion in 2018, according to the NPR.)
The company said before deciding to settle, it was considering the alternate way to continue fighting Roundup ™ cases. The company's risk assessment would likely significantly outweigh the potential negative outcome of further litigation – including more advertising and a growing number of plaintiffs, more than 20 lawsuits per year with jury uncertain results and the associated reputational and business implications.
The resolutions were adopted unanimously by Bayer's Management Board and Supervisory Board with the support of the special litigation committee. "First of all, the Roundup ™ agreement is the right thing for Bayer to do at the right time to end a long period of uncertainty," said Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer. “Given the significant financial risks of ongoing multi-year litigation and the implications for our reputation and business, this is financially appropriate. The decision to resolve the Roundup ™ dispute allows us to fully focus on critical health and food products. It will also bring the discussion of the safety and usefulness of glyphosate-based herbicides back to the scientific and regulatory levels and to science as a whole. "
A class science panel
Potential future cases are regulated by a class agreement that is subject to judicial approval. The agreement includes the creation of an independent Class Science Panel (CSP) that determines whether Roundup ™ can cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and, if so, at what minimum levels. (The materials considered by the CSP that Bayer is authorized to disclose or are publicly available will be posted on a public website.) Both the class and the company are bound by the CSP's determination, which is expected to take several years. In the meantime, participants are not allowed to claim Roundup ™ claims and cannot claim punitive damages. The agreed funding is limited to the $ 1.25 billion mentioned above and will support research into NHL treatment, NHL diagnostic programs in underserved areas, and support payments to class members who develop NHL prior to the CSP's decision and are eligible for needs.
Cash payments are expected to begin this year. Bayer currently expects the potential cash outflow to not exceed $ 5 billion in 2020, $ 5 billion in 2021, and the remaining balance to be paid in or after 2022.
The three cases brought to trial – Johnson, Hardeman and Pilliod – continue in the appeal process and are not the subject of the settlement. Bayer will continue these cases as the legal remedies will provide legal information in the future. In an appeal, the US government expressed its support for the company's allegation that state warning claims are contrary to federal law, which does not require cancer warnings and must be dismissed. Last week, a federal judge in California ruled that scientific evidence did not support state cancer prophylaxis for glyphosate-based herbicides.