A class-action lawsuit filed against Monsanto (now owned by Bayer AG) may be close to reaching a settlement. The case alleges that Roundup causes cancer, and the current offer on the table is $10 billion. If agreed to, this settlement will provide relief to the tens of thousands of claimants named in the lawsuit.

The Health Risks of Roundup

The defendant in this case, Monsanto/Bayer, is a multinational agricultural biotech company. They are the manufacturer of Roundup, an herbicide used to eradicate weeds. The plaintiffs are the thousands that have been affected by using the product or are the relatives of those who allegedly died from exposure. They claim that serious illnesses, such as cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, were caused by chemicals contained in the herbicide.

Now, Roundup uses glyphosate, and there is some controversy over whether or not this chemical is indeed carcinogenic. That said, some studies have shown a connection between glyphosate and cancer in humans. This has led several countries around the world to respond by banning its use.

In addition, there are other illnesses that have been linked to Roundup. These include heart disease, infertility, asthma, Parkinson’s disease, and mental health disorders. To date, Monsanto/Bayer has already lost several other cases concerning Roundup and its relationship to cancer. In California, for example, four people were awarded more than $2.3 billion in damages.

About the Class Lawsuit Against Monsanto

This case is unique in that it represents the first class-action lawsuit involving cancer claims connected to the herbicide. All prior suits were filed on an individual basis. To give you some perspective, at this point, there may be close to 85,000 individual claims filed against the company.

The pending class-action was initiated in the Circuit Court of St. Louis, Missouri, where Monsanto/Bayer is based. Part of its claim is that the company put pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to classify glyphosate as safe and non-carcinogenic to humans.

The legal argument offered by the plaintiffs is that Monsanto/Bayer should be held “strictly liable”. This is based on a design defect with the product and the company’s failure to warn users about Roundup’s potential dangers. The net result of these actions is that a product that was unreasonably dangerous for public use was put into the marketplace. To succeed in this type of claim, the plaintiffs need not show that the company acted intentionally or recklessly, only that said defect existed.

In addition, the company is also charged with negligence, fraud, misrepresentation, and suppression of the truth in its marketing of the product. The suit alleges that Monsanto/Bayer was aware of the health risks, and intentionally misled the public concerning its safety.

In the complaint, the plaintiffs also claim that the company violated applicable consumer fraud acts. They allege that Monsanto/Bayer misled the public in their media and community outreach programs. These campaigns, the suit claims, were meant to deceive the public into believing that Roundup is safe. Finally, the company is charged with the wrongful death of people who became sick and died from using the herbicide.

Settlement on the Horizon

Currently, the Monsanto/Bayer trial has been postponed to give the attorneys for each side additional time to reach a settlement agreement. As you can imagine, there has been a lot of controversy over this case. Right now there is pressure to reach an agreement through mediation to avoid a media firestorm.

With this in mind, the attorneys for Bayer have proposed $10 billion to settle the case. If accepted, this amount covers both existing claims and would set aside a portion for all future claims.  While nothing has been agreed to yet, mediator Kenneth Feinberg is “cautiously optimistic” they will reach a settlement before trial.

You May Be Entitled to Compensation

If you have suffered health risks after using Roundup, or have lost a loved one, talk to an attorney. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries. This can help cover your medical bills, lost wages, and any pain and suffering you endured. It’s important to note that you do not need to join this class action to get relief. You may have a case on your own.