Bayer’s $10B Roundup Settlement On Shaky Ground

 Wednesday, July 8, 2020

 The New York Times

An agreement to pay more than $10 billion to settle thousands of claims that the popular weedkiller Roundup causes cancer is at risk of unraveling.

Although the bulk of the complex deal between Roundup’s manufacturer, the German conglomerate Bayer, and a raft of plaintiff lawyers does not require court approval, one crucial piece does: a plan for handling future claims from customers who develop the form of cancer known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

And that approval is in doubt, Judge Vince Chhabria of U.S. District Court in San Francisco warned in a filing on Monday, saying he “is skeptical of the propriety and fairness of the proposed settlement, and is tentatively inclined to deny the motion.”

He raised concerns about the creation of a scientific panel to decide whether the key ingredient, glyphosate, causes cancer and whether the agreement unfairly limits potential plaintiffs from suing.

Bayer has been eager to put its legal troubles with Roundup to rest, particularly after losing three multimillion-dollar verdicts, but it has insisted that any settlement largely resolve the issue of future litigation.