Bayer has reportedly settled another 15,000 Roundup lawsuits. This development comes after news of a potential stall in finalizing the previously reported $10.9 billion Roundup settlement. According to Bayer, 125,000 people have sued claiming the glyphosate-based weed killer causes cancer.
Bayer's Roundup Settlement Details
Settlement Amount: $849 million to $10.9 billion (estimated)
Share Per Plaintiff: $5,000 to $250,000 (estimated)
# Cases Settled: 47,000*
# Cases Still Pending: 78,000*
*Bayer agreed to a $10.9 billion settlement in June 2020, resolving some 100,000 cases. That settlement has not yet materialized. The estimates above may pertain to plaintiffs included in the cases Bayer claimed to settle in June.
The estimates above are based on the most recent public reports from lawyers handling Roundup lawsuits. The 47,000 settled cases were handled by different law firms. Some law firms have not disclosed the settlement amount for their cases. The final share per plaintiff and total settlement amount may vary from the estimates above.
Settlement Amounts Disappoint Some Roundup Plaintiffs
Bayer now has binding agreements with every firm that has taken a Roundup case to trial. The settlement terms have not been disclosed, but one firm did provide some details.
The Miller Firm said it negotiated $849 million from Bayer for its 5,000 Roundup clients. The firm estimated the average settlement to be about $160,000. According to at least one report, plaintiffs have not been pleased with that number. Admittedly, in comparison to Roundup verdicts, $160,000 does seem like a small amount.
Future Plaintiffs May Be At A Disadvantage
One of the most unique facets of this litigation is that Roundup has not been recalled. The glyphosate-based weed killer does not even bear a cancer warning. Thus, unlike other large-scale product liability cases, consumers can still buy the "faulty" product in question.
In faulty product cases, the court often asks the manufacturer to account for future claims. With a recalled product, the manufacturer can estimate how many were sold. The court can use that information to ensure a fair settlement is set aside for future plaintiffs.
Since Roundup is still on the market, accounting for future claims poses quite the challenge. In Bayer's initial proposal, they suggested dealing with future lawsuits as follows:
- Place a four-year moratorium on filing new cases.
- Establish a five-member science panel. Allow the panel to determine if Roundup can cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).
- If the panel finds no relationship between Roundup and NHL, future lawsuits would be barred.
- $1.25 billion in funding would be made available to Roundup users diagnosed with NHL. The money would also be used for NHL research.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria is overseeing the case and settlement negotiations. Judge Chhabria rejected this initial plan. He took issue with multiple points of the proposal, especially the science panel.
Judge Chhabria essentially instructed Bayer to try again with a new proposal for handling future claims. Bayer says it will finalize the details of the revised proposal in the coming weeks. Only time will tell if the next proposal will bring Bayer closer to finally closing the door on Roundup litigation.