On April 27, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, presiding over all federal Monsanto Roundup lawsuits, rejected a motion seeking to have an attorney appointed as interim counsel for all class action plaintiffs involved in the litigation.
According to the pretrial order issued, Judge Chhabria indicated two distinct issues:
whether the proposed counsel will fairly and adequately present the interests of the class.
whether the Court should exercise its discretion to appoint class counsel before deciding whether the case is suitable for class treatment.
The majority of the lawsuits involve claims from the users who are diagnosed with cancer due to the weedkiller, whereas there is a class action lawsuits filed by consumers who are not affected by the weedkiller but are seeking compensation for the future damages.
Judge Chhabria indicated that there is no reason to believe the on-going mediation by the appointed prominent mediator, Ken Feinberg, to resolve claims for individuals diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma will impact any future negotiations between the manufacturer and the exposure-only medical monitoring plaintiffs, if the class action claims are certified.
Bayer AG is currently facing over 52,000 Roundup cancer lawsuits in the courts across the United States. The trial dates have been postponed nationwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bayer has been able to delay negotiations without facing additional large damage awards at trial, at least for the next few months.
In April 2020, Bayer agreed to pay nearly $40 million to resolve a class-action lawsuit claiming misleading and false advertisements over its controversial weed killer Roundup.
Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in Missouri federal court in February 2019, against Scotts Miracle-Gro Products, Inc. and Monsanto Company, now owned by Bayer, alleging 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.