Three strikes and... Bayer says it is not even close to being out
It’s been a bad last couple of weeks for Bayer AG.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dealt yet another blow to Bayer AG’s effort to defend itself against ongoing litigation over allegations that Roundup herbicide causes cancer, denying the company’s request for a review of a California trial loss.
In declining to take up the case, the court let stand an $87 million award won by Alva and Alberta Pilliod. The jury originally ordered more than $2 billion in damages for the married couple, but the award was later cut by the court. Each of the Pilliods alleged they developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after extensive use of Monsanto’s Roundup products.
Bayer inherited the liability for that case and tens of thousands of similar lawsuits when it bought Roundup-maker Monsanto in 2018. The lawsuits allege that Roundup causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma and that Monsanto long knew of the cancer risks but failed to warn its customers.
Last week the Supreme Court denied a separate request by Bayer to examine a different Roundup cancer case - that one won by plaintiff Edwin Hardeman. The jury in that case awarded Hardeman $25 million.
The twin rejections by the Supreme Court came after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on June 17 said in their ruling that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s 2020 assessment of glyphosate was so deeply flawed that the court was vacating the agency’s human health assessment of the weed killer.
The court found that the EPA used “inconsistent reasoning” in finding that the chemical does not pose “any reasonable risk to man or the environment.” The EPA failed to follow established guidelines for determining cancer risk, ignored important studies, and discounted expert advice from a scientific advisory panel in officially declaring that the weed killer glyphosate was “not likely to be carcinogenic,” the court found.
Despite the triple whammy, Bayer said Monday that the company is optimistic the table are turning as it has won the most recent four Roundup cancer trials after losing the first three.
“Bayer continues to stand fully behind its Roundup products, which are a valuable tool in efficient agricultural production around the world. The company is confident that the extensive body of science and consistently favorable views of leading regulatory bodies worldwide, including most recently by the European Chemicals Agency’s Committee for Risk Assessment, provide a strong foundation on which it can successfully defend Roundup in court when necessary.”
Bayer has been attempting to settle outstanding cases, which at one point totaled more than 100,000 plaintiffs, since 2020. Several firms accepted settlements for their clients, but many others did not. Several new trials are scheduled in the next few months.
Bayer said Monday that since it has won the last four trials it will “only consider resolving outstanding current cases and claims if it is strategically advantageous to do so.”
Read the rest of the story at The New Lede.