Another federal court has rejected Bayer and Monsanto's efforts to block failure to warn allegations made in Roundup lawsuits, ruling that a Georgia man's claims under state law are not preempted by the controversial weedkiller's clearance under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit revived a Roundup case on Tuesday. The original plaintiff claimed he used the glyphosate-based weedkiller on his lawn for 30 years and as a result, got eye cancer.
A settlement was struck to address the remaining design fault and negligence claims after a District Court earlier rejected the plaintiff's failure to warn and breach of implied warranty allegations. However, the plaintiff challenged the dismissed claims, which Bayer said were barred by federal law since Roundup's registration had been authorized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The Roundup preemption argument seeks to stop plaintiffs from pursuing failure to warn claims based on state law, contending that any additional warnings would have been in conflict with the decision of federal regulators to approve the products without such warnings on the label. Drug and medical device manufacturers have successfully used this defence in the past for specific products that underwent the FDA's pre-market approval process.
The EPA's registration procedure does not have the legal weight to serve as the basis for a preemption claim, according to the Eleventh Circuit, which reversed the lower court's earlier ruling and rejected Bayer's argument.
Nearly 100,000 Roundup lawsuits were filed against Bayer and its Monsanto subsidiary at one point by former weedkiller users who had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, each of whom claimed that information and warnings regarding the cancer risk associated with the weedkiller had been withheld from consumers and regulators for years.
Bayer has agreed to pay billions in Roundup settlements after multiple plaintiff victories in cases that went to trial in 2018 and 2019. Thousands of cases are still making their way through the court system after claimants refused offers to settle or filed additional claims in response to a recent diagnosis of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. However, it has persisted in pursuing appeals from numerous early rulings.
Bayer declared last year that it intends to eliminate the active chemical glyphosate from Roundup weed killers supplied to residential customers in the United States by 2023 in order to reduce its potential responsibility for Roundup. Although a different active component would be used in the products one that has not been connected to a risk of non-lymphoma Hodgkin's would still carry the Roundup label and continue to be sold. However, according to Bayer representatives, glyphosate will still be utilized in goods marketed to farmers and agricultural enterprises as well as goods sold abroad.