Bayer AG is up against a fast-approaching deadline to settle remaining lawsuits over its Roundup weedkiller or face the prospect of a judge restarting the process of sending the cases to trial.
The judge reaffirmed …. that a Nov. 2 deadline looms as the company reported “significant progress” on settlements, having finalized accords to resolve about 44,000 U.S. lawsuits, or about 35% of the more than 125,000 filed and unfiled cases alleging the herbicide causes cancer. In June, it said it had reached agreements in 75% of the cases, or about 94,000, as the centerpiece of an $11 billion comprehensive settlement.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco, who is overseeing about 1,000 unresolved cases, added pressure by telling lawyers he will move at full speed to set trials once the deadline passes. At least one case is ready for trial — if Bayer doesn’t manage to win dismissal of it — and a handful of others could be scheduled quickly ….
Ken Feinberg, the court-appointed mediator overseeing settlement negotiations, told Chhabria that he’s confident it won’t be necessary to send any cases to trial. “They will be settled,” he said.
[In August], Chhabria excoriated the company after some lawyers complained that the company was reneging on deals. The judge said it looked as if Bayer may be manipulating the settlement process to its advantage.
Since then, Bayer has reached an additional 12,000 key settlements on top of the 32,000 it previously disclosed.