For years, Monsanto’s exposure to herbicide Roundup has been linked to cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. At issue is its key ingredient, a chemical called glyphosate, which the International Agency for Research on Cancer ruled as being “probably carcinogenic” and cancer causing in 2015. However, despite this, Roundup has never been sold with a warning label about its safety.
Bayer AG, the German chemical and pharmaceutical company that acquired Monsanto in 2018, has insisted that Roundup is safe. However, the company agreed to pay $10 billion in 2020 to settle tens of thousands of claims. Although this deal is among the largest settlements ever in U.S. civil litigation, it hasn’t marked the end of claims against the company’s controversial product.
The $45 Million Consumer Lawsuit Against Monsanto
In January 2022, a group of consumers who had purchased Roundup asked a federal judge in California to sign off on a class action settlement of up to $45 million to end their claims that they lost money purchasing the weed killer.
Parent company Bayer AG agreed to establish a fund of between $23 and $45 million to settle the class claims. The fund was meant to reimburse consumers for about 20 percent of the average price paid for Roundup products.
Here’s a summary of the pesticide lawsuit:
- The consumers claimed that Monsanto and parent company Bayer AG failed to warn of the cancer risk associated with Roundup’s key ingredient.
- The consumers claimed that, if not for that omission, they would have paid less for the weed killer.
- The settlement does not cover personal injury or medical monitoring claims.
- The settlement does not apply to purchases of Roundup used for agricultural or professional purposes.
- Depending on which Roundup product was purchased, consumers can recoup anywhere from 50 cents to $33 for each unit of Roundup purchased, according to the motion.
The Fallout After the Settlement
In March 2022, a group of consumers in Missouri who had purchased Roundup criticized the $45 million settlement reached with the other group of consumers. The group of Missouri consumers said the California federal court should reject the class action settlement deal, claiming the other consumers got a raw deal and that attorneys did not act in the plaintiffs’ best interests.
Here’s an overview of the situation:
- The Missouri plaintiffs are fighting the proposed settlement presented to the California federal court overseeing multidistrict litigation of economic loss claims against Monsanto.
- The Missouri plaintiffs told the California court that the deal lets Monsanto off the hook for “virtually all economic loss claims” lodged by buyers of its products in exchange for minimum relief to consumers.
- The plaintiffs allege that after facing several legal defeats, counsel for the plaintiffs in the $45 million lawsuit were presented with an “out” from Monsanto. The company allegedly agreed to settlement terms that included not fighting counsel on an excessive fee request in exchange for a “bargain-basement deal” that made the settlement a win-win for Monsanto and the plaintiffs’ counsel, at the expense of the group of consumers.
- A separate motion opposing the settlement was filed that expresses similar concerns about the “clear sailing provision” of the settlement.
- Bayer AG, Monsanto’s parent company, has asserted that the class settlement is fair and any arguments opposing it would disrupt the settlement.
How We Help Victims of Pesticide Exposure
With a national presence and a wealth of experience prosecuting pesticide exposure cases, Waters Kraus & Paul has battled corporate giants on behalf of individuals like you for 20 years, aggressively fighting to hold them responsible for failing to keep people safe. If you have suffered catastrophic injury or cancer caused by Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer or other harmful chemicals, our pesticide lawyers can help.