About 125,000 lawsuits have been filed against Bayer, the company that sells Roundup, the well-known and wildly popular weedkiller used at home and commercially in the United States and around the world. In 2018, Bayer bought Monsanto, the company that first developed Roundup in the 1970s, and has since run into significant legal issues. Bayer has already paid around $11 billion in personal injury settlements and lawsuit verdicts amid allegations that the product causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). Shares of the company also fell, although a trial victory sent values soaring in late 2021.
Legal proceedings claim that the chemical glyphosate in the product is carcinogenic. They allege that Bayer failed to warn consumers of the risks and that the product is unsafe. About 100,000 lawsuits have been settled so far, but the company won two lawsuits last year, signaling a potential shift in future claims.
Additionally, Bayer has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider two of the three cases it lost and is awaiting the judges’ decision on whether to hear their cases. In December 2021, the Supreme Court asked the Biden administration to rule on whether to do so. This brought Bayer’s defense to life, and if they accepted the case, a verdict in favor of the company could end all current and future litigation against them.
In 2020, Bayer settled tens of thousands of lawsuits with payouts totaling around $10 billion. The company said it would set aside $4.5 billion for claims if the Supreme Court refuses to hear their cases or overturn the rulings. Only a handful of Roundup claims have gone to court, and so far plaintiffs have won three of the five cases. But since Bayer asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review two of the cases it lost, those payments have been halted.
In March, a Roundup rules was reached just days before a trial began in Monsanto’s hometown, but the terms are confidential. The lawsuit was filed in 2017 by cancer plaintiffs across the country and alleged Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The lawsuit asserted that Roundup was an unreasonably dangerous and defective product, and that Monsanto was guilty of wrongful conduct.
Bayer’s argument is that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not consider glyphosate to be carcinogenic. The EPA believes there is a lack of evidence that the chemical causes cancer and felt there is no need for a warning on Roundup labels. Bayer cited the EPA and other health and environmental agencies that believe glyphosate is safe throughout their defense.
Will the Supreme Court hear the Roundup cases?
Armed with these scientific arguments and regulatory guidance, society is trying to overturn two verdicts. Bayer has asked for a review by the United States Supreme Court an $87 million jury prize awarded in California to a husband and wife who used Roundup for more than 30 years and developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The second jury prize they hope to repeal is $25 million for a single plaintiff.
The Supreme Court’s decision to implicate the Biden administration was seen as a victory for Bayer. Many believe this indicates judges are inclined to hear cases, and with Bayer’s recent wins at trial, their defense could hold in the highest court. Bayer said there was no basis for the “failure to warn” claims because the EPA prevented the cancer warning on Roundup labels and when used as directed, it is harmless.
Does Roundup cause cancer?
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer that starts in the lymph nodes, which are part of the immune system that helps fight bacterial and viral infections. It can spread quickly and throughout the body depending on the type, and treatment options and results vary.
The cause of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is mostly unknown, but it has been linked to a range of risk factors, including exposure to certain chemicals, such as glyphosate. There are strong arguments about the safety of the chemical, but independent researchers and some organizations claim glyphosate can be carcinogenic to humans.
Bayer has pledged to replace glyphosate with a residential alternative to Roundup in 2023. However, many argue that the promised change has come too late for hundreds of thousands of people who have – or will develop – NHL. after using the weed killer.
With more than 100,000 Americans suing Bayer over a product they believe gave them cancer, the outcome of the company’s applications to the U.S. Supreme Court could have far-reaching impact and potentially block future claims altogether. The judges did not give a timeline as to when they will decide whether to hear the Roundup lawsuits, but many are eagerly awaiting their crucial rulings.