Future Roundup Settlements After Withdrawal

Bayer will pull Round-Up off the market in January 2023.  This post is about how this will impact the settlement amounts in future Roundup lawsuits that are not in the initial settlement.

Ever since its acquisition of Monsanto back in 2016, Bayer has been besieged by a growing tide of Roundup lawsuits. The lawsuits allege that prolonged exposure to the active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, can cause cancer. Bayer has steadfastly defended the safety of its iconic weed killer product. But last week the company made a drastic shift when it announced that glyphosate-based Roundup will be pulled from the retail market starting January 2023.

Roundup-242x300Why leave the product on the market for another year?  It is hard to defend.  Bayer seems to desperately not want to make it seems like a recall.  I’m-not-actually-doing-this-thing-that-I’m-it-seems-like-I’m-doing.

So Bayer claims that the quasi-recall of Roundup is being done to “manage litigation risk” and not because they think glyphosate is actually harmful.  Let’s just say juries disagree.  Whatever you call it, a withdrawal of Roundup is a good thing for safety and it will save lives.

Roundup Settlements Now

This naturally raises the question of what impact this move will have on the future of Roundup cancer lawsuits. I believe that this will actually facilitate the settlement of existing and future Roundup claims for the foreseeable future.

Let’s back up for a second before we get back to this…

Roundup’s Fall from Grace

Roundup has been the most popular and widely used weed killer on the consumer gardening market for decades. The iconic product and brand are familiar to millions. Around 2015, however, scientific evidence began surfacing which suggested that long-term exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, could cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma (“NHL”).

The emerging evidence linking Roundup to lymphoma eventually led the World Health Organization to add glyphosate to its list of human carcinogens. The classification of glyphosate as a carcinogen sparked thousands of Roundup lawsuits by individuals claiming that they developed NHL (and other cancers) from years of regularly using the popular weed killer.

As the lawsuits and medical studies continued to mount, Bayer attempted to circle the wagons and defend the efficacy of its all-star product on every level. Bayer adopted an aggressive defense strategy in the lawsuits while simultaneously insisting that glyphosate was completely safe and did not cause cancer. Bayer took this approach so far that they stubbornly refused numerous suggestions that they put an NHL warning label on Roundup.

When the first Roundup cases started going to trial, however, Bayer was forced to rethink its strategy after a series of massive, headline-grabbing verdicts in favor of the plaintiffs; the largest topping-out at $2 billion. By June 2020, Bayer had waived the white flag and was started to settle out large blocks of cases.

Bayer Recalls “Old Roundup” in the Hopes of Capping Future Claims

One of the major concerns for Bayer in resolving the Roundup claims has always been how to handle future Roundup lawsuits. The latency period between exposure to glyphosate and the development of NHL can be years, possibly even decades. This means Bayer could still be facing NHL Roundup lawsuits 10 and 20 years down the road.

Roundup-Timeline-v5-410x1024Bayer previously sought to resolve this problem by getting Court approval for a controversial plan that would have stayed all future Roundup claims while a “scientific panel” determined whether glyphosate actually caused cancer. Back in May, however, the Judge in the Roundup MDL flatly rejected this proposal and sent Bayer executives back to the drawing board.

This is what eventually led to Bayer’s announcement that it will pull glyphosate-based Roundup from the consumer retail market. The product will be replaced with a new type of Roundup that does not contain glyphosate. This is effectively a recall.

At the same time, Bayer also announced in its report to investors that it was setting aside $4.5 billion to cover the cost of future Roundup claims and litigation. This would be in addition to the $11.6 billion that Bayer has previously earmarked for Roundup liability expenses.

Bayer hopes that this move will restore investor confidence and eliminate the lingering uncertainty about the company’s future that has been generated by the Roundup litigation. By pulling old-Roundup off the shelves in 2023, Bayer is effectively ensuring that the Roundup lawsuits will eventually come to an end.

Impact on Future Roundup Lawsuits

Bayer’s decision to pull the current glyphosate-based version of Roundup off the consumer retail market in the U.S. naturally raises the question of what impact this will have on current and future Roundup lawsuits. Our Roundup lawyers are confident that this decision will have a very positive impact on the outcome of currently pending claims and facilitate a more efficient settlement of future Roundup NHL claims.

Bayer has already been settling large blocks of pending Roundup cases. An estimated 70,000 out of the 100,000 pending Roundup cases have been settled and dismissed since the start of the year. Bayer’s recent decision should clear the way for settlements in the remaining pending cases. These cases may even end up having a higher settlement value since Bayer is clearly highly motivated to get them resolved and show investors that they are moving forward.

Given the latency period, Roundup lawsuits will continue for at least the next 10-15 years as more Roundup users get diagnosed with NHL. Based on the recent announcement from Bayer, however, it seems likely that future claims will be resolved in a less adversarial process. There will obviously be some level of scrutiny to ensure that there is adequate proof of causation, but once that bar is passed we could see some type of expedited settlement negotiation and valuation process.

File Your Roundup Case Today

If you think you have a Roundup NHL claim, contact our lawyers today at 800-553-8082 or get a free, no-obligation online case review. Our Roundup attorneys can give you the legal advice you need and our lawyers will help you in any way that we can.