Bayer Asks Supreme Court to Overrule Recent Roundup Lawsuit Verdicts
Bayer Seeks to Overturn $87 Million Roundup Verdict
Bayer is again asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review one of the recent multi-million dollar Roundup verdicts against the company in Roundup cancer lawsuits. In this case, the company has asked the Supreme Court to overrule their recent lawsuit ruling that awarded nearly $87 million to two claimants who were diagnosed with cancer after using the popular weedkiller Roundup.
Bayer faces thousands of lawsuits alleging Roundup exposure leads to an increased risk for cancers. Consumer pressure has been so intense that Bayer announced in 2021 that they would stop selling glyphosate-based products, including popular weed killer Roundup, to residential consumers starting in 2023.
Bayer has maintained that Roundup is safe, and says that the company’s removal of Roundup from consumer shelves is “being made exclusively to manage litigation risk and not because of any safety concerns.”
In fact, Bayer has argued similarly before the Supreme Court, claiming that because federal regulators have deemed the popular weedkiller “safe,” they should not have to face consumer lawsuits that allege the contrary.
Bayer Also Appealing $25 Million California Roundup Verdict
In addition to the recent $87 million ruling that Bayer is appealing before the court, the Supreme Court is also deciding whether or not to hear another appeal from Bayer to overturn a separate $25 million judgment awarded to a claimant in California.
This appeal also argues that the ruling should be overturned because Roundup has been cleared for use by regulators, and the link between increased cancer risk and Roundup exposure is not based on “sound science” — a claim that plaintiffs and their counsel strongly contest.
Claims That High Punitive Damages are “Unconstitutional”
In addition to its challenge about the validity of the cancer claims against Roundup, Bayer is also claiming that it is unconstitutional to award punitive damages much higher than compensatory damages, which it has seen in this most recent ruling.
Billions Set Aside for Settlements
According to Bayer’s annual report, around 107,000 of the approximately 138,000 Roundup claims have either been settled or are not eligible for settlement for “various reasons.”
In 2021, Bayer stated that it would set aside $4.5 billion to handle litigation costs in the event that its Supreme Court appeals were unsuccessful.
Contrary to Bayer’s claims, multiple studies have linked exposure to Roundup and other glyphosate-based weed killers to an increased risk for certain cancers. The publication and consumer awareness of such studies are what initially prompted the onslaught of lawsuits against the company.
Roundup Still Used in Commercial Agriculture
While Roundup is being removed from consumer shelves, Bayer still plans to distribute it for commercial use. This is in line with Bayer’s claims that Roundup is safe and that Roundup lawsuits are due to consumer concerns and not the factual safety of the product.
According to Bayer, a very small number of farmers have made complaints against the company regarding Roundup.
What’s Next for Roundup Lawsuits?
In May of 2021, Bayer published its “five-point plan” for how the company intends to deal with the Roundup lawsuits. The plan states that Bayer first intends to seek a positive ruling from the Supreme Court, in which the company hopes the current lawsuits will be overturned and any further lawsuits regarding glyphosate-based products are barred.
If this effort with the Supreme Court fails, Bayer intends to activate a claims program to settle subsequent lawsuits. Roughly 31,000 cases not covered by the recent settlements are currently ongoing.
Bayer also plans to introduce new formulas to the consumer market that don’t contain glyphosate. A new “safety study” webpage published by Bayer contains information about glyphosate products, their risks, and their use.