Bayer settles estimated 95,000 glyphosate weedkiller-cancer lawsuits with 25 firms for more than $10 billion, admits no wrongdoing

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Credit: Jersey City

Bayer, the world’s largest seed and pesticide maker, has agreed to pay more than $10 billion to settle tens of thousands of claims in the United States that its popular weedkiller Roundup causes cancer, the company said [June 24].

The settlement, which covers an estimated 95,000 cases, was extraordinarily complex because it includes separate agreements with 25 lead law firms whose clients will receive varying amounts.

Most of the lawsuits filed early on were brought by homeowners and groundskeepers, although they account for only a tiny portion of Roundup’s sales. Farmers are the biggest customers …. Bayer still faces at least 25,000 claims from plaintiffs who have not agreed to be part of the settlement.

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Bayer said the amount set aside to settle current litigation was $8.8 billion to $9.6 billion, including a cushion to cover claims not yet resolved. It said the settlement included no admission of liability or wrongdoing.

Part of the $1.25 billion will be used to establish an independent expert panel to resolve two critical questions about glyphosate: Does it cause cancer, and if so, what is the minimum dosage or exposure level that is dangerous?

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If the panel concludes that glyphosate is a carcinogen, Bayer will not be able to argue otherwise in future cases — and if the experts reach the opposite conclusion, the class action’s lawyers will be similarly bound.

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