National plaintiffs’ law firm, Waters & Kraus, LLP, joins almost 100 law firms in amicus brief opposing proposed settlement of future Roundup claims.
The prospective danger of the popular herbicide Roundup has been known for years. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said that glyphosate—which is the world’s most commonly utilized herbicide and the chief ingredient in Roundup—is likely a human carcinogen. In recent years, Bayer has faced thousands of lawsuits related to the harmful effects of Roundup, a weed killer product originally created by Monsanto (which was acquired by Bayer in 2018). As Bayer is forced to handle more of Monsanto’s Roundup-related litigation, the company has recently attempted to settle in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California—a move which has been widely criticized in the legal community.
In opposition to the motion for preliminary approval of a proposed class action settlement and related relief, a group of 93 law firms–including Waters & Kraus, LLP—as well as 167 lawyers have filed a brief in opposition. The amicus brief, which was co-authored by Benjamin Bailey and Joshua Hammack of Bailey Glasser, criticizes the proposed settlement and underscores how unfair it is to the plaintiffs.
The proposed settlement would have a seismic impact on litigation concerning Roundup. First, under the terms of the proposed settlement, all class member claims for both punitive damages as well as medical monitoring would be eliminated. This is supposedly justified because the company has been both sufficiently “punished” and “deterred” by paying up to $9.6 billion in settlements. However, as the brief explains, nowhere—no law on either the state or federal level—“does a calculation exist to justify barring an individual from asking that the perpetrator of her or his injuries be punished in this way.”
Additionally, there would be a four-year stay on all litigation according to the proposed settlement. This would unjustly delay the ability for so many injured individuals to seek the relief that they need and deserve. Further, the amicus brief highlights that the apparent justification of a four-year stay is for the formation of a science panel. The brief notes that the panel would not be transparent, its process and work would be hidden, and that it would be “constructed to exclude anyone in the world who has already researched the product and found it in any way dangerous.”
Currently, there is a hearing scheduled for March 31 before U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco on the preliminary approval of the proposed settlement. For the co-authors and both the law firms and lawyers who joined the brief, the proposed settlement provides the company a way to both “cap its risk” as well as “calculate the injuries and suffering it has caused, is causing, and will continue to cause as just one more cost of doing business.”
“The judicial system should prevent such an outcome, not bless it,” wrote the co-authors of the brief.
“Its job is to give aggrieved parties the opportunity to make themselves whole, seek recompense for their injuries, and, when harmed by malicious conduct, punish the party who hurt them.”
About Waters Kraus & Paul
Waters Kraus & Paul is a national plaintiffs’ law firm devoted to helping families in personal injury and wrongful death cases involving asbestos and mesothelioma, benzene exposure, Monsanto Roundup, dangerous pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and birth defects caused by pesticides, toxic chemicals, opioid use, and semiconductor chip manufacturing. The law firm also represents plaintiffs in qui tam whistleblower matters and cases that uncover false claims submitted to the government. Based in Texas, with offices in California and by appointment in Illinois, Waters Kraus & Paul has represented families from all fifty states and many foreign countries, as well as foreign governments.
Waters Kraus & Paul is the West Coast practice of Waters & Kraus, LLP, a national plaintiffs’ law firm.