Bayer Ordered to Mediate Roundup Lawsuit Following $2 Billion Verdict
Earlier this year, Bayer lost its third Monsanto Roundup trial. A California jury ordered the company to pay $2 Billion in what’s described as the largest verdict issued this year. As Bayer continues to lose in court, so do stockholders’ confidence in the company. Bayer stock prices have fallen significantly in recent months.
Bayer still faces more than 13,000 Roundup injury lawsuits in courts across the country. Juries haven’t wavered in support of injured plaintiffs. The company is probably considering a mass settlement to avoid future (and expensive) losses in court. In fact, Bayer has already been ordered to attempt to mediate lawsuits before any others are litigated in front of a jury.
Court Orders Bayer to Attempt Mediation
Following a $2 Billion verdict in May, a federal judge canceled a trial that had been scheduled to begin on May 20th. Instead of proceeding right to court, Bayer and Elaine Stevick, another Roundup plaintiff, were ordered to enter private mediation. A mediator would be appointed if neither party could find a mutually agreeable party.
Mediation is a process that helps parties in a lawsuit resolve a dispute without involving the court. A mediator is a neutral third party who helps the parties discuss their issues and find a mutually agreeable resolution. The terms of mediation are controlled by the parties and can be kept private.
However, in order for mediation to work, both parties have to be open and willing to compromise. Bayer has refused to acknowledge that its weedkiller is dangerous. It’s doubled down on its position that Roundup and glyphosate are safe. The company argues that there is an “extensive body of reliable science supporting the safety of Roundup.” This is the company line, despite the fact that they’ve been unable to convince three juries that this is true. In fact, three separate juries have determined that the complete opposite is true.
Bayer doesn’t necessarily have to admit fault or say that Roundup causes cancer during mediation. They can agree to settle Stevick’s lawsuit privately without making any concessions. However, Stevick doesn’t have to accept anything she doesn’t want to. She could refuse to accept an offer unless Bayer also acknowledged that Roundup might not be safe.
Lawsuits Accuse Bayer of Failing to Warn About Roundup Risks
Consumers in the United States are protected by state product liability laws. If a product is defective and causes harm, consumers can sue manufacturers for damages. Stevick and thousands of other plaintiffs have invoked these protections and filed product liability lawsuits against Bayer. Roundup injury lawsuits have been filed in several states, including California, Florida, and Texas. According to personal injury lawyer Boris Lavent, who practices in Florida, “Bayer’s problems seem to be getting worse. Not only are they facing a huge liability, but cities like Miami have recently banned the use of glyphosate.”
The plaintiffs claim that they were never warned about the potential risks associated with exposure to Roundup or glyphosate. There’s even evidence to suggest that the company intentionally hid health risks from the public.
Plaintiffs in a product liability action don’t have to prove that a company was negligent. Instead, they have to prove that they were harmed because they used a product as intended. That product must have been a substantial factor in their injury. The company’s degree of care (or lack thereof) is irrelevant. If a product is defective, a company can be strictly liable for injuries and harm.