Bayer paying up to $10.9B to settle Monsanto weedkiller case

Bayer paying up to $10.9B to settle Monsanto weedkiller case

After more than a year of talks, Bayer AG has agreed to pay as much as $10.9 billion USA to settle thousands of U.S. lawsuits claiming that its widely used weed killer Roundup caused cancer, resolving litigation that has pummelled the company's share price.

The Roundup agreements will resolve 75% of about 125,000 claims that have either been filed or were set to be, the company said in a statement.

Bayer and Monsanto merged in 2018.

"The company will make a payment of $8.8 billion to $9.6 billion to resolve the current Roundup litigation, including an allowance expected to cover unresolved claims, and $1.25 billion to support a separate class agreement to address potential future litigation".

Reuters also noted that Bayer's shares rose by 6% in the wake of the news of an imminent settlement, to €72.78.

According to Kenneth Feinberg, a court-appointed mediator for the settlement talks, the agreements are "a constructive and reasonable resolution to a unique litigation". No lawsuits are required for the payouts, but farmers must show proof of crop damage or reduced yields tied to dicamba contamination, the company said.

Weitz & Luxenberg, a NY law firm that represents some of the plaintiffs, signaled acceptance of the settlement.

The range of money committed reflects the uncertainty over how many people are eligible to receive compensation.

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Separately, Bayer agreed after about nine months of settlement talks to resolve most claims by cities and ports over contamination by polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, a chemical exclusively made by Monsanto that is used as a cooling agent in heavy equipment.

Roundup contains glyphosate, a weedkiller that many claimants say caused their illnesses, with many suffering from the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Edwin Hardeman, another cancer patient, was awarded $80 million previous year, though that award was downgraded to $25.3 million by a federal judge.

Monsanto markets glyphosate as part of the pesticide Roundup. In one of those cases, a California jury awarded a couple more than $2 billion in damages before a court sharply lowered that amount.

The settlement provides "a process to stop everything while the scientific claims are established", Loyola's Zimmerman said.

Access to Roundup products won't change, but Bayer said it would continue to offer customers more herbicide options through its 10-year investment in developing new methods to manage weeds to support sustainable agriculture.

The consolidated federal case is In RE: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2741, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Five years ago, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans".

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