August 16 — Bayer AG, the Germany-based pharmaceutical company, filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a verdict that awarded a Roundup user $80 million in damages.
Bayer is asking the high court to reverse the May 14 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that affirmed the District Court of the Northern District of California's judgment in favor of Edwin Hardeman, who underwent six rounds of chemotherapy in 2015 after developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), a type of cancer Hardeman and 125,000 other plaintiffs have alleged they developed because of exposure to Monsanto Corporation’s Roundup brand of weed- and grass-killers.
Hardeman’s case was the second of three Roundup lawsuits that have gone to trial and that have concluded. A fourth Roundup lawsuit has recently started.
Bayer’s request comes one week after the company lost a third Roundup appeal that awarded a California couple who developed NHL $87 million.
Approximately 100,000 Roundup claims have been settled by Bayer with a settlement of roughly $11 billion; however, 30,000 Roundup cancer suits remain unresolved.
Bayer, which recently announced it would remove glyphosate-based herbicides from retail stores by 2023, hopes that if the nation’s high court takes up the Hardeman verdict and reverses it, Roundup litigation may finally come to a close.
According to Reuters.com, Bayer said in a statement, “The Ninth Circuit’s errors mean that a company can be severely punished for marketing a product without a cancer warning when the near-universal scientific and regulatory consensus is that the product does not cause cancer, and the responsible federal agency has forbidden such a warning.”
Despite Bayer’s “preemption defense,” the Ninth Circuit found that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of a pesticide label does not shield a manufacturer from liability in the tort system. (The court later reduced Hardeman’s award to $20 million.)
Should the U.S. Supreme Court refuse to review the Hardeman verdict, Bayer has set aside $4.5 billion for future litigation expenses. The company’s plan to resolve future Roundup lawsuits for an additional $2 billion has been rejected twice by Judge Vincent Chhabria, who is overseeing the entire Roundup multidistrict litigation (MDL).
Chhabria’s latest rejection of Bayer’s proposed class-action settlement occurred in May.