Judge Cancels Roundup Trials, Brings in ‘Neutral Third Party’ for Resolution

BayerAG could settle the cases without the public knowing the full amount

Thousands of cancer patients are suing Monsanto alleging their exposure to the company’s Roundup herbicide caused their illnesses.

This is all taking spotlight in court, where recently U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria officially ordered Bayer AG and lawyers (who represent the mass of cancer patients) into mediation to seek a settlement.

Bayer, which acquired Monsanto in June 2018, lost the first of 2 trials in unanimous jury verdicts that led to large damage awards against the company.

In his order, Chhabria wrote:

“The parties should propose a mediator in their case management statement; if they cannot agree, the Court will appoint someone.”

Bayer said it would comply with the order but still planned to defend the safety of Roundup and other glyphosate-containing herbicides in court.

A third trial had been slated to begin May 20. [2]

Chhabria said he would rather see the cases organized in the multidistrict litigation before him, which would determine which lawsuits should be dismissed, which should be sent to state courts, and which cases should be sent back to where they were originally filed for trials in federal court.

Analysts predict the settlement could top $5 billion. The confidential nature of mediation would mean that Bayer manages to resolve the litigation without multimillion-dollar damning headlines the first 2 trials produced.

Thomas G. Rohback, a New York trial attorney, said:

“The confidentiality – which is also quite common – could help Bayer pay a settlement amount without making that public. Of course, the key is whether the parties can reach an agreement.”

Chhabria scheduled a meeting for May 22 to discuss the mediation efforts and possibly set a new date for the canceled trial.

By Julie Fidler / Sources:

[1] U.S. Right to Know
[2] The Detroit News

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