The coronavirus pandemic continues to slow the judicial system, as yet another litigation decides to postpone legal proceedings. The most recent: the judge in charge of all federal Roundup weed killer lawsuits announced that proceedings in the litigation are postponed until November 2. Currently parties are working towards finalizing Roundup settlements for thousands of cases, each raising similar claims that exposure to Roundup herbicide caused users to develop severe cancer diagnoses.
Currently over 125,000 product liability lawsuits have been filed against Bayer AG and its subsidiary Monsanto Company over injuries caused by Roundup weed killer. However, on June 24, 2020, Bayer agreed to settle a large percent of the pending Roundup lawsuits against them.
This settlement would involve payments of up to $9.6 billion to resolve around two-thirds of the cases filed against them nationwide. In some of these cases individual plaintiffs are still reviewing whether to accept the settlement offers, with hardly any being dismissed.
To facilitate the settlement process for these selected cases, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria announced that all claims in the MDL are halted until November 2, 2020. This news was released in a case management order on July 21, 2020.
“Under normal circumstances, the Court would be reluctant to issue a stay of this kind because any plaintiffs who opted not to settle would have the right to continue proceeding towards trial,” Judge Chhabria said through the case management order. “But because the pandemic has delayed all litigation substantially, and because it is unclear when civil trials can resume, the Court’s and the parties’ time is best spent on effectuating the settlements reached in the MDL.”
Chhabria indicates that the Court does not plan to extend this stay on case proceedings, so all parties should focus on preparing the remaining cases for the November trial.
Bayer AG and Monsanto Company face thousands of injury lawsuits from across the U.S. from individuals who were exposed to Roundup weed killer and were diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and other injuries. Originally manufactured by Monsanto Company, which is now owned by Bayer AG, Roundup was the world's leading herbicide for wide spectrum use. Roundup has been used by farmers, homeowners, gardeners, and law care professionals for decades to fight weeds.
However, increasing individuals are now coming forward saying their Roundup exposure caused their cancer diagnoses. Lawsuits against Monsanto Company raise similar allegations that Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, is carcinogenic and caused those exposed to develop severe side effects. In 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) categorized glyphosate as being “probably carcinogenic to humans,” and other studies have found similar results. One 2019 study uncovered that glyphosate can increase one’s cancer risk by a massive 41%.
Individuals filing claims against Bayer claim consumers were not adequately warned about the health risks associated with glyphosate exposure, removing their right to choose another, perhaps, safer product.