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Examining the Dynamics of Roundup Lawsuits

Agricultural and biotechnological entity, Monsanto, has reached a multibillion dollar settlement agreement with thousands of plaintiffs who developed cancer due to prolonged exposure to Roundup, a glyphosate-based weedkiller. 

Glyphosate, the main active chemical in the pesticide, has been directly linked to diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and related conditions. 

Bayer, Monsanto’s new owners, negotiated settlements with attorneys for about 100,000 lawsuits.

Examining the Dynamics of Roundup Lawsuits

Agricultural and biotechnological entity, Monsanto, has reached a multibillion dollar settlement agreement with thousands of plaintiffs who developed cancer due to prolonged exposure to Roundup, a glyphosate-based weedkiller. 

Glyphosate, the main active chemical in the pesticide, has been directly linked to diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and related conditions. 

Bayer, Monsanto’s new owners, negotiated settlements with attorneys for about 100,000 lawsuits. 

There are still over 30,000 Roundup lawsuits to settle and more individuals are still filing more claims. 

If you’ve been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and you think it’s connected to exposure to Roundup or any glyphosate-based herbicide, you need to speak to a lawyer for an in-depth case evaluation.

What Is the Case Against Roundup?

Roundup was one the world’s most famous herbicides, favored by farmers and homeowners for its efficacy.

Its fame skyrocketed until scientific research began to reveal a link between prolonged glyphosate exposure and certain cancer types. In response to these studies, the CDC and other health bodies listed glyphosate as a potential human carcinogen, triggering a rapid decline in the herbicide’s use. 

A flurry of lawsuits soon followed, with plaintiffs across the country alleging they’ve developed lymphoma and other health conditions due to prolonged Roundup use. 

All Roundup cases in federal courts were consolidated into one multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of California. 

The number of Roundup litigations has risen to over 100,000, with thousands more pending in California state courts. 

Monsanto first attempted to ignore the evidence linking Roundup to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

The company came up with its own data disproving the allegations that glyphosate had something to do with cancer cases. After years of in-depth research, lawyers took the company to court in 2018. 

In the first Roundup cases to get to trial, a jury ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, awarding $289 million to a man who developed cancer after using Roundup on his job. 

The second trial led to a $80 million verdict against the company while the third saw the jury return with an unprecedented $2 billion verdict against Bayer. 

The sizes of these settlements have been reduced on appeal, but the company remains liable. 

In response to the developments and the prospect of more lawsuits, Bayer has commenced work towards negotiating settlement agreements, and has set aside $16 billion to cover claims.

Roundup False Advertising Settlement

A class action suit brought against Monsanto has also seen the company agree to pay $45 million to resolve allegations of false advertising and breach of warranty claims concerning some of its weedkillers. 

This class action alleges that Monsanto illegally advertised and marketed the products Roundup, Ace, and HDX without informing customers of the possible health risks. 

The plaintiffs are not filing for personal injury and retain the right to sue if they develop cancer or any Roundup exposure-related illness in the future. 

Monsanto hasn’t admitted wrongdoing but has reached a $45 million settlement agreement with the plaintiffs. 

Any United States resident who purchased a variation of these weed and grass killers during their respective class period for reasons besides redistribution and resale is eligible for a settlement. 

Your class period depends on the state in which you made your purchase.

Bayer Has Settled Many Pending Roundup Lawsuits

In March 2022, Bayer announced that it had settled almost 80% of pending roundup lawsuits. 

The entity was able to accomplish this by negotiating block settlements with attorneys representing a large number of Roundup plaintiffs. 

There are still over 25,000 active roundup lawsuits, with new ones filed as new victims get diagnosed.

Roundup settlements are awarded via a points system that integrates the validity of claims and severity of injuries to group cases into tiers. 

Major factors like the victim’s age, injury form, earning capacity, and treatment result are considered and used to award point scores. 

The bigger the plaintiff’s overall point score, the larger their payout. 

Does Roundup Cause Cancer?

There is no consensus among researchers on whether Roundup is responsible for cancer in humans. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in 2017, stated that the weedkiller was unlikely to cause cancer and restated this position in 2019 when it declared that glyphosate isn’t a likely carcinogen. 

The EPA’s stance contradicted that of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which found in 2015 that glyphosate was likely to cause cancer in humans. 

Other authorities and health safety organizations from Japan, New Zealand, Canada, and Germany have also presented research that found no connection between glyphosate and cancer. 

In 2019, the University of Washington published a study showing that exposure to Roundup and similar glyphosate-based weed killers increased the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by 41%.

Symptoms of Cancer Caused By Roundup Exposure

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the most common cancer type associated with Roundup exposure. Symptoms of this condition include: 

  • Painless swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Breathlessness, wheezing, and coughing
  • Abdominal pain, swelling, or fluid accumulation
  • Swollen neck, face, and arms
  • Fever lasting for at least 14 consecutive days
  • Weight loss
  • Bone pain
  • Obstructed urine flow
  • Visual disturbances
  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Stooling and vomiting blood

Roundup Cases and Outcomes

In 2018, when the first roundup lawsuit went to trial, Dewayne Johnson; a 46-year old man, alleged that he developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after prolonged exposure to Roundup in the course of his job as a groundskeeper. 

A San Francisco jury didn’t find a connection between Roundup and Johnson’s cancer. However, it ruled that the company failed to warn the plaintiff of the risk that the herbicide could cause cancer. 

The jury initially awarded $289 million in Johnson’s favor. However, an appeal court reduced the amount to $20.5 million but upheld the company’s liability.

The second case to go to trial involved a plaintiff who developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup for over 25 years. 

A jury awarded $75 million in favor of the plaintiff in March 2019. Nonetheless, this value was later reduced to $20 million and Monsanto’s liability was upheld.   

In an astonishing development, a California jury in May 2019, awarded $2 billion in punitive damages against Bayer in a lawsuit involving a couple diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma upon constant Roundup use for 30 years. The couple received another $55 million in compensatory damages. 

A court reduced the massive amount to $86.7 million, stating that the verdict was out of step with established legal precedent. Bayer appealed this second ruling but an appeal court upheld the decision in 2021. 

Bayer has also recorded some legal victories in the Roundup case. 

In October 2021, a jury ruled that Roundup was not responsible for a child’s Burkitt’s lymphoma diagnosis. An online trial in December 2021 involving a plaintiff with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was resolved in Bayer’s favor. 

The court ruled that the plaintiff’s diagnosis wasn’t caused by roundup exposure over several decades. 

Criteria for Filing a Roundup Lawsuit

To be eligible for Roundup lawsuit filing, you must be able to provide proof that you’ve been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or a related illness that can be linked to your exposure to the weedkiller. 

Just using Roundup or having a bottle of the herbicide in your home isn’t sufficient to file a lawsuit. 

Plaintiffs in Roundup cases must showcase economic losses as well as “pain and suffering” arising from their diagnoses. 

Your condition’s specifics and symptoms will determine whether you can file a Roundup lawsuit and will also shape the nature of the suit. If you’ve been affected by Roundup and want to file a lawsuit, contact a lawyer to review your case and advise you of your options.

Roundup Compensation Fund for Future Claims

Part of the terms of Bayer’s proposed settlement plan is a “controversial” plan to cover claims of exposure in future. About $2 billion will be set aside for individuals who have been exposed to Roundup but have not been diagnosed with cancer. This fund will provide free medical examination to future claimants and $200,000 in settlements if they get non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

This plan has stirred up some controversy. 

The judge overseeing this unique Roundup multidistrict litigation expressed concerns about the plan and how it might apply to future cases, and the merits of deciding legal matters using a proposed “class science panel.” 

In a filing addressing the future fund, judge Chharbria asked the following pertinent questions:

  • “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 the 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 the 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 alternative to litigation?”
  • “Why is it in the interest of the class to agree in advance of 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?” 

The answers to these questions will shape the course of settlements going forward. 

However, Judge Chharbria’s remains grey-zoned. 

It’s also worth noting that numerous Roundup victims will not depend on the outcome of the MDL. Bayer has settled almost 100,000 cases outside the MDL. 

Roundup Lawsuit Information: Case Timelines

$289 Million Verdict Against Monsanto (August 2018)

A San Francisco jury found that Monsanto had failed to warn patrons of the carcinogenic potential of Roundup and awarded $289 million against the company. 

A judge reduced the amount to $20.5 million in July 2020.

Huge $2 Billion Verdict in Roundup Suit (May 2019)

A California jury awarded punitive damages worth $2 billion in favor of a couple against Bayer and another $55 million for their “pain and suffering.” 

An appeals court reduced this verdict to $86.7 million after concluding that the verdict wasn’t in line with any legal precedent. 

Court Reduces Punitive Damages Against Monsanto (July 2019)

A California judge reduced a $75 million verdict against Monsanto to $20 million after declaring the award to be “constitutionally impermissible” compared to $5 million awarded as compensatory damages in March 2019.

Court Blocks Roundup Warning Label (June 2020)

A California federal judge prevented the state’s officials from prompting stores selling Roundup to integrate a prominent safety warning label on their shelves.

Bayer’s Proposed Settlement Plan Faces Obstacles (August 2020)

Judge Chabbria, presiding over this MDL case, raised concerns over the repercussions of Bayer’s proposed settlement on future cases, especially the adoption of a “class science panel” to resolve cases. 

Bayer Settles 15,000 Roundup Cases (September 2020)

Bayer reaches a settlement agreement with attorneys presiding over 15,000 cases linked to health conditions due to roundup use. 

Bayer Reaffirms a $2 Billion Settlement Proposal for Future Claims (February 2021)

Bayer announces a $2 billion proposal to settle future Roundup lawsuits and create a compensation program that’ll grant future claimants settlement values between $5,000 and $200,000. 

First Roundup Verdict in Bayer’s Favor (October 2021)

A California jury rules that Roundup usage isn’t a main cause of a Child’s Burkitt’s lymphoma. 

This ruling was the first victory for Bayer in a Roundup lawsuit. 

It was followed by another victory in December 2021, where another California jury, after an online trial, ruled that Roundup did not cause a woman’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

Third Straight Verdict in Bayer’s Favor (June 2022)

Bayer wins its third consecutive victory in the Roundup case. This time, a Missouri jury ruled that Roundup did not give the plaintiff — Allan Shelton — non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

The Supreme Court Doesn’t Consider Bayer’s Appeal (June 2022)

The US Supreme Court refused to consider Bayer’s petition arguing that lawsuits relying on state law were preempted by federal law. 

This petition also stated that because the EPA has not required warning labels for glyphosate, state courts are not permitted to rule otherwise. 

A ruling in Bayer’s favor would’ve “absolved” the entity from any liability. 

Notable Questions About Roundup Lawsuits

When Will Roundup Victims Get Paid?

Many plaintiffs in the Roundup lawsuit have received their payment and many more will be paid before the year ends or the start of 2023. Settlement negotiations are ongoing for the over 30,000 pending lawsuits. 

The average settlement value for Roundup litigations is between $100,000 and $160,000. 

Will Roundup Plaintiffs Pay Taxes on Their Payouts?

Personal injury lawsuit compensation amounts aren’t income taxable except in a few cases. 

Therefore, Roundup victims will not pay taxes on their settlements. 

Will States Ban the Use of Roundup?

Some states may decide to ban the commercial use of Roundup due to its cancer link. 

In November 2021, the Massachusetts legislature set up a glyphosate commission to review the impact of glyphosate and similar herbicides on environmental and public health. 

However, Monsanto plans to stop selling the product in its current form for residential use after 2023.

What Is the Future of Roundup Cases?

Roundup is still being marketed by Bayer. 

However, the company announced its commitment to replace glyphosate with “alternative active ingredients” by 2023. The unsettled Roundup lawsuits are ongoing and there will most probably be more lawsuits in future. 

Major Takeaway

If you have been diagnosed with a health issue linked to Roundup exposure, contact an attorney to help you file a lawsuit and get you the settlement you deserve.

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