(April 19, 2019) Over 11,200 people have filed lawsuits against Bayer AG over its herbicide, Roundup, in both state and federal courts. Two high-profile cases have already been lost by the agrochemical giant in bellwether trials.
A US judge overseeing the cases has urged Bayer to pursue mediation with outstanding plaintiffs due to significant share prices depleting.
US District Judge Vince Chhabria wrote in an order last Thursday “the parties should propose a mediator.” Should they find themselves unable to agree, the court will appoint one for them.
Chhabria cancelled a third trial that was set for May 20th. This trial was scheduled on the heels of Bayer’s most recent loss when a Santa Rosa man was awarded $80 million for his claim that Roundup caused his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Chhabria also indicated both parties’ resources are better allocated with the cases being organized into the multidistrict litigation before him, such as determining which lawsuits should be dismissed or sent to state court. The hearing will begin on May 22 and will set a new date for the cancelled trial.
The recent national headlines regarding the Bayer’s losses over with Roundup haven’t been helpful to its shares. The company had $34 billion wiped off its market value last August. A former school groundskeeper was awarded $200 million for his claim that Roundup caused his cancer. The amount was later reduced to $78 million but still caused trepidation within the agrochemical market.
Bayer spokesman, Chris Loder, said the company will comply with the order for mediation “in good faith.”
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