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Bayer and plaintiffs engaged in settlement talks over Roundup-cancer lawsuit

Bayer has said it is open to a settlement, but only if the cost falls below costs of lengthy legal battle.

Bayer AG officials have said they have reached an agreement with the plaintiffs to postpone a St. Louis, Missouri Roundup-cancer jury trial—Wade v. Monsanto—that was to start this Friday. It was to be tried in 22nd Circuit Court in St. Louis.

In response, Bayer issued this statement: The parties have reached an agreement to continue the Wade case in Missouri Circuit Court for St. Louis City. This continuance is intended to provide room for the parties to continue the mediation process in good faith under the auspices of Ken Feinberg, and avoid the distractions that can arise from trial. While Bayer is constructively engaged in the mediation process, there is no comprehensive agreement at this time. There is no certainty or timetable for a comprehensive resolution.

This was the first multi-plaintiff trial and the first one out of California in cases involving charges that Bayer’s Roundup herbicide causes cancer. So far, three California court multimillion-dollar verdicts have gone against Bayer.

The second one, for example, consisted of a California jury awarding the plaintiff $80 million in damages. A federal judge later reduced the award to $25.27 million.

Last October, Bayer officials said they were open to a settlement in these cases if the cost falls below the cost of going through a lengthy legal battle.

“There are two paths going forward that we are looking at in parallel,” said Liam Condon, president of Bayer CropScience. “One part is Plan A, going through the court system. Depending on how things play out, there may be multiple appeal levels, and it is possible it may end up with the (U.S.) Supreme Court. We are prepared to go through the entire court system. That could take many, many years.”

Plan B is a settlement. “In these types of cases, it usually makes sense to look at a settlement,” Condon says. “A settlement only makes sense if the cost of settling is lower than the cost of going through the court system and if it is final. There is no point in settling, and then having lots of new litigation in the future. Regardless of which option works, the base assumption is that it (glyphosate) remains with growers.”

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