A Roundup cancer trial that was set to start in the middle of October has been postponed, according to a statement issued by Bayer. The case, Winston v. Monsanto, is just one out of a number of cases that have been put off as plaintiffs and defendants continue to work toward settlement terms acceptable by both sides.
While the case names Monsanto as the defendant, the agri-corporation was purchased by Bayer in June of last year for $63 billion. Since then, over 18,000 lawsuits have been filed alleging that exposure to Roundup, the company’s flagship weed killer, has caused them to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The suits name glyphosate – the product’s key ingredient and a staple of Monsanto’s catalog since the 1970s – as the cause.
Historically, Bayer has not had good luck in trying to convince juries that Roundup is safe. Three cases have resulted in three losses with initial awards totaling into the billions of dollars. And, while subsequent decisions by the trial judges have resulted in significant reductions in those awards, the verdicts themselves have all been left intact.
Leaks emerged over the summer that showed Bayer may have begun actively working toward a settlement in the matter and was willing to offer up to $8 billion to resolve glyphosate cases. Working between Bayer and those who have been harmed by glyphosate is experienced and well-known mediator Kenneth Feinberg. Feinberg bristled at the notion that any dollar amounts had been discussed and categorically denied the possibility. “There have been absolutely no discussions to date of dollars or what the compensation would be for a global resolution,” he said once rumors of a settlement started swirling.
With the prospect of another trial and perhaps yet another loss no longer looming over it, Bayer’s attention has been freed to try to limit the fallout from its prior losses. “With the change in the trial schedule and no trial dates set through the rest of the year,” the company said in a statement, “the appeals of the three completed trials will be a significant focus of the litigation in the months ahead.”