North America

Bayer loses first round in legal battle over claim that Roundup caused cancer

Bayer AG lost the first phase of a trial over claims its Roundup weed killer causes cancer and now moves to a second phase to determine liability and damages in the case of a man who sprayed the herbicide on his property for decades.

The next stage, starting Wednesday in the U.S. will be a steeper climb for the defense: jurors will hear evidence, including damaging emails, that the company manipulated public opinion to bury health concerns and promote sales of the bestselling herbicide.

After Bayer lost its first U.S. trial over Roundup, Tuesday’s decision probably edges the company one step closer to a settlement, according to analysts. They predict that paying to resolve more than 11,000 related U.S. lawsuits, which Bayer inherited with its acquisition of Monsanto Co., could cost as much as $5 billion.

The verdict will “likely result in a flood of cases filed quickly” against Bayer, and “may expedite the ultimate settlement” of the Roundup claims, Anna Pavlik, senior counsel for special situations at United First Partners LLC in New York, said in an email. Pavlik cautioned that Bayer and plaintiffs’ lawyers probably remain far apart on the price of resolving the lawsuits.

Bayer said moving to the next phase of Edwin Hardeman’s trial against the company has no impact on future cases because each one has its own factual and legal circumstances.

“We are disappointed with the jury’s initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer,” the company said in a statement. “We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto’s conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman’s cancer.”

Source: Claims Journal

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