2020 Environmental Real Estate IssuesOn June 22, 2020, a California federal court said the statement “glyphosate is known to cause cancer” is “at a minimum misleading and not factual” in a successful challenge to California’s insistence that Roundup, whose key ingredient is glyphosate, contain such a warning.  The court said a warning that glyphosate causes cancer would be misleading “in light of the heavy weight of authority that glyphosate does not cause cancer.”  The case is National Association of Wheat Growers v. Becerra, in the federal district court for the Eastern District of California.

Despite this and other determinations that Roundup does not cause cancer (See August 12, 2019 Alert “EPA Takes a Stand for Roundup”), Bayer, the parent company of Roundup maker Monsanto, announced on June 24, 2020 it was committing between $10.1 to $10.9 billion to settle Roundup litigation alleging glyphosate causes Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), a form of cancer.

Complex Settlement
The proposed class action settlement is complex and must obtain court approval, but according to Bayer’s announcement, the settlement will resolve 75% of the pending litigation and claims made but unfiled.  The announcement states Bayer will pay $8.8 to $9.6 billion to resolve current claims and put a mechanism in place to resolve future claims.  The mechanism involves a Class Science Panel to determine if glyphosate causes NHL; its determination will be binding on potential future cases of class members.

The settlement does not resolve the three cases that have gone to trial, which will continue through the appeals process.

In explaining its decision, Bayer said the alternative of continuing to litigate the cases, which would involve “upwards of twenty trials per year with uncertain jury outcomes, and associated reputational and business impacts, likely would substantially exceed the settlement and related costs.”

Dicamba and PCB Settlements
In the announcement, Bayer also said it would pay $400 million to resolve dicamba drift litigation and $820 million to resolve PCB water litigation.

For a copy of Bayer’s announcement https://media.bayer.com/baynews/baynews.nsf/id/Bayer-announces-agreements-to-resolve-major-legacy-Monsanto-litigation?Open&parent=news-overview-category-search-en&ccm=020