A federal appeals court on Friday upheld a $ 25 million verdict and a ruling that found Bayer’s Roundup had caused a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in California, hitting the chemical company’s hopes of limiting its legal risk to weed killers.
The Ninth U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco rejected Bayer̵
“This is an immersion for the plaintiffs,” said Leslie Bruckner, a public justice attorney who helped Hardman’s appeal. “This proves that these allegations are viable in the tort system.”
Bayer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In 2019, jurors awarded Hardeman $ 5 million in damages and $ 75 million in criminal damages in the first federal lawsuit. The penalty was later reduced to $ 20 million, and the appeals court also upheld the reduction.
Friday’s ruling is the first by a federal appeals court in a case linking Roundup and cancer, and Bayer said the case has the potential to “shape how each subsequent Roundup case is judged.”
Bayer said decades of research have shown that Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides that dominate the market are safe for human use.
The company claims that glyphosate has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency as safe for humans and that regulators have prevented Bayer from adding a warning to the product’s label.
But the company spends years trying to limit the lawsuit.
Bayer has pledged $ 9.6 billion to settle 125,000 claims for Roundup.
He also wants to resolve potential legal claims against millions of consumers and farm workers who have been exposed to Roundup and may become ill in the future.
On Wednesday, she will seek prior approval for a controversial $ 2 billion deal proposed to resolve these future claims through group action, which will group those exposed to Roundup but who have not fallen ill.
Personal injury lawyers and consumer groups opposed the plan, which they said restricted the rights of Roundup users to sue.
Bruckner said Friday’s decision undermines an argument for a collective settlement, namely that Bayer could prevail in federal appeals courts.
“The timetable could not be more perfect,” Bruckner said, referring to Wednesday’s hearing on the collective action agreement. “I doubt it was an accident.”
Elizabeth Cabraser, the collective redress lawyer who negotiated the collective redress agreement, said she was pleased with Friday’s decision.
Proponents of the collective agreement say it provides consumers with free medical check-ups to monitor their health. If consumers were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, they could receive up to $ 200,000 in compensation and free legal advice to assess their chances.
The deal also halts litigation against Bayer for four years, and if someone rejects the compensation and files a lawsuit, they cannot seek criminal damages.
“The more convictions against Bayer, the greater the pressure on the company to withdraw Roundup from the market or agree to a more generous agreement,” said David Knoll, a professor at Rutgers Law School.
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