The US Supreme Court dismissed a multi-billion dollar appeal from Bayer, refusing to protect the company from potentially tens of thousands of claims that its best-selling weed killer Roundup causes cancer. Bayer stock plummeted.
he judge yesterday without comment left a $25 million award to Edwin Hardeman, a Californian who said decades of exposure to Roundup caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The Germany-based Bayer unsuccessfully argued that federal approval of Roundup’s label meant Mr. Hardeman’s lawsuit and others like it could not proceed.
Bayer said last year a Supreme Court ruling in its favor would “effectively and largely end” the US Roundup litigation by deterring future lawsuits.
The German conglomerate had pledged $11.6 billion to settle lawsuits and said last year it was prepared to set aside an additional $4.5 billion if judges denied the appeal. This brought the potential reserve to more than $16 billion.
The company also said it would launch a renewed program to resolve current and future lawsuits if Hardeman’s appeal were dismissed.
Shares fell 4.7 percent in Frankfurt after the decision, which analysts said slashed Bayer’s value by billions of euros. So far this year, the company has been the best performer on the STXE 600 Healthcare Index, with its share price up about 35 percent compared to a more than 10 percent decline for the broader index.
According to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Holly Froum, a Supreme Court victory would have saved Bayer an estimated $3 billion out of the $16 billion the company has set aside to settle all litigation.
Bayer announced last year that it would withdraw the current version of the weed killer from the US consumer market in 2023.
Bayer “respectfully disagrees with the Supreme Court’s decision,” the German conglomerate said in an email. “The Company is fully prepared to manage the litigation risk associated with potential future claims in the United States.
“We are grateful that SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) ended Bayer’s strategy of denial and delay,” said Matthew Stubbs, an attorney representing former Roundup users suing Bayer.
“After years of appeals, not a single court has come to an agreement with Bayer in this case.
“Today, SCOTUS has charted a clear path for recovery before the courts, and we look forward to hosting jury trials across the country for decades to come.”
The Biden administration asked the Supreme Court last month to dismiss the appeal.
The judges sought the Justice Department’s opinion on whether state court claims regarding Roundup should be barred because federal authorities approved the security tag.
The government concluded that former users should be able to assert their claims.
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/top-us-court-wont-shield-bayer-from-claims-against-weedkiller-roundup-41776763.html U.S. Supreme Court fails to protect Bayer from lawsuits against weed killer Roundup