Bayer executives, in an annual general meeting, indicated that the company is currently facing Roundup lawsuits brought by more than 52,000 plaintiffs.
The general meeting also had a shareholder vote, during which the executives informed the investors that the ongoing pandemic crisis slowed Roundup settlement negotiations, as the company is facing economic challenges resulting from the outbreak and due to difficulties caused by social distancing procedures.
The company, following substantial pressure from shareholders to negotiate settlements for Roundup claims, engaged in a court-ordered mediation process with lawyers nationwide.
Mediator attorney Kenneth Feinberg, appointed by the court, is overseeing the controversial lawsuit. Ken Feinberg has overseen some of the largest mass-tort settlements in recent years, which includes funds to pay claims related to the BP oil spill, Volkswagen emissions scandal, General Motors ignition switch recall, and September 11th Victim Compensation fund.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria is presiding overall the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2741; In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation) in the Northern District of California.
Earlier, Bayer agreed to pay nearly $40 million to resolve a class-action lawsuit claiming misleading and false advertisements over its controversial weed killer Roundup.
According to the lawsuit filed by several plaintiffs in Missouri federal court in February 2019, Scotts Miracle-Gro Products, Inc. and Monsanto Company, now owned by Bayer, face allegations that the manufacturers falsely claimed that the active ingredient, glyphosate, only targets an enzyme that is not found in humans or pets.
Monsanto, Bayer’s subsidiary, has agreed to pay $39.5 million as part of the Roundup class action settlement. The manufacturer also agreed to remove language from Roundup Weed and Grass Killer labels, which previously indicated glyphosate only affects plant enzymes.
Currently, Bayer faces many lawsuits over its Roundup weed killer, but this case is different from thousands of cases faced by the manufacturer over allegations that long term exposure of glyphosate causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other injuries to the users of Roundup.
Many state court cases have already been postponed following a settlement discussion between the parties and the prominent mediator Ken Feinberg.