On Wed., Feb. 3, 2021, Bayer AG proposed a $2 Billion deal that would establish a fund to pay future claimants who allege the company’s popular weed-killer Roundup® caused their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The offer was submitted to a U.S. district court judge in San Francisco for approval.
Roundup, the well-known, popular weed-killer created by Monsanto, was inherited by Bayer in 2018 when the German pharmaceutical giant acquired Monsanto for $63 Billion. Since then, Bayer has found itself battling hundreds of thousands of Roundup lawsuits.
Bayer’s recent move follows their June 2020 deal of over $9.6 Billion, which was intended to settle more than 100,000 of the already-existing Roundup cancer lawsuits.
Who Is Eligible for Roundup Compensation?
Bayer’s new proposal applies to future claimants who have not yet hired an attorney or filed a Roundup claim.
Worth an estimated $2 Billion, the settlement fund is intended to last through 2025, but it is unclear now whether or not the fund will be replenished and extended beyond the next 4 years. If both parties agree, it is possible the fund could be extended.
Under the current $2 Billion proposal, claimants would be paid out from the settlement fund according to a number of factors including:
- Amount of Roundup exposure
- Cancer diagnosis
- Overall health
- Proof of Roundup exposure
According to The Wall Street Journal, maximum payments from the fund would reach $200,000 per claimant, while the lowest payouts would be $5,000.
Bloomberg and Reuters have reported that filing for settlement money from the fund would lower the wait-time that claimants would otherwise face if they instead filed a lawsuit that ultimately went to trial.
Securing compensation from the fund could also reduce the amount of risk that claimants might incur in a typical trial before a jury, which could ultimately side with either the claimant or Bayer, depending on the quality of the evidence and arguments.
Can I Still File a Roundup Lawsuit?
Roundup victims who choose not to be a member in the class-action settlement funds would still be able to pursue a Roundup lawsuit outside of the $2 Billion deal.
By pursuing a legal claim outside of the settlement fund, future claimants may increase their risk, but they may also be able to increase their monetary award, which could potentially include punitive damages — damages that are designed to set precedent and punish a company for alleged wrongdoing.
A number of successful Roundup lawsuits held before a public jury have resulted in multi-million- and multi-billion-dollar verdicts.
In 2018, a San Francisco groundskeeper who was exposed to heavy volumes of glyphosate and developed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was awarded $289 Million in a jury verdict. The award total was finalized at $78.5 Million.
Other verdicts include:
- March 2019: A California man was awarded $80 Million in a trial verdict over his claim that Roundup caused his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
- May 2019: A California jury delivered a $2 Billion verdict in favor of a couple who claimed that Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Is Glyphosate Dangerous?
The active ingredient in the weed killer Roundup®, called glyphosate, has been classified as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Initial findings from the WHO found that Roundup’s main chemical component, glyphosate, was specifically linked to Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. These findings were first published in 2015.
More recently, a 2019 study conducted by a group of scientists from UC Berkeley, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and the University of Washington found a “compelling link” between the chemicals (glyphosate) used in Roundup and an increased risk of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Bayer Denies Connection Between Glyphosate and Cancer
Despite their mounting legal woes, Bayer continues to deny their Monsanto-acquired product has any link to cancer whatsoever.
The company continues to make, market, and sell Roundup for both commercial farming applications and at-home consumer gardening.
Even in spite of the hundreds of thousands of claims that have been levied against Bayer, the company has neither updated the product’s safety label nor made any attempts to reformulate the chemical makeup of the product.
The proposed $2 Billion deal, as proposed by Bayer, would seek permission from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make a slight alteration to the Roundup label by including a website link that users can visit for additional information on the safety of glyphosate.