German chemicals giant Bayer has settled thousands of US Roundup weedkiller lawsuits after reaching deals with the only lawyers who took cases to trial over allegations the herbicide caused cancer, Reuters reported on 15 September.
The deals were part of a US$11bn settlement announced by Bayer in May to end the Roundup lawsuits it had inherited when it bought US agrochemicals company Monsanto for US$63bn in 2018.
In letters filed with the US District Court in San Francisco on 14 September, three lawyers were reported to have said that they had reached binding settlements of their cases.
The settlements covered 15,000 lawsuits, an attorney familiar with the talks was quoted as saying. Bayer estimated it faced 125,000 filed and unfiled claims over Roundup.
Bayer had not immediately responded to a request for comment, Reuters said.
The terms of the settlements had not been disclosed in the letters filed by plantiffs’ attorneys Brent Wisner, Jennifer Moors and Aimee Wagstaff.
Wisner and Wagstaff were members of the executive committee of attorneys who were leading the class action against Bayer, Reuters said.
Following the agreements, all law firms that had taken cases to trial had settled with Bayer, Reuters said.
Bayer faced a setback in August when the judge overseeing the case, Vince Chhabria had threatened to restart the litigation.
In June, the company had reached an agreement to settle around 125,000 claims in the USA. The following month, Chhabria had raised concerns over the plan to create an independent panel of scientists to assess whether glyphosate-based weedkillers such as Roundup caused cancer, delaying a key part of the proposed settlement.
Those involved were expected to return to Chhabria’s court on 24 September to discuss the next steps.
Bayer has consistently denied claims that Roundup or its active ingredient cause cancer, saying decades of independent studies have shown the product is safe for human use.
Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used herbicide and Roundup is used in combination with Bayer’s genetically modified seeds, including soyabeans and corn, which are resistant to it.