A 2017 Roundup cancer lawsuit filed by dozens of plaintiffs from around the U.S., slated to begin April 11 in a St. Louis court, was settled April 7 for an undisclosed sum, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Had the trial begun, it would have marked the first time a Roundup cancer case would have been tried in the city that’s home to Monsanto's corporate headquarters. Monsanto invented Roundup herbicide in 1970. The company was acquired by Germany-based Bayer AG in 2018 for $63 billion. Bayer, which still maintains a presence in the St. Louis area, assumed all of Monsanto’s legal liabilities in the merger, which include tens of thousands of cancer claims tied to Roundup.
In March, on an earnings call, Bayer announced that of approximately 138,000 cancer claims filed by individuals, 107,000 had been resolved or deemed ineligible. In 2020, Bayer resolved nearly 90,000 of 125,000 claims and pledged to resolve future lawsuits for $10.9 billion.
The trial that was nullified by the settlement was to be tried in St. Louis because lead plaintiff, Earl Neal, is a St. Louis County resident. Neal alleged that he developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a result of repeated exposure to Roundup while he was employed by the St. Louis City Parks Department and St. Louis City Forestry Department in the 1990s.
Neal and the other plaintiffs’ original legal complaint stated that they were seeking damages due to Monsanto’s “wrongful conduct” and the “unreasonably dangerous and defective nature” of Roundup.
In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an entity of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate—the main active chemical compound in Roundup—a probable human carcinogen.
In February 2016, the first Roundup lawsuit was filed by plaintiff Edwin Hardeman, who successfully sued Monsanto and was eventually awarded $25 million in damages. Monsanto lost the first three Roundup trials, Including Hardeman’s.
Bayer has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review all three decisions. The nation’s highest court declined to review the verdict in favor of Dewayne Johnson, a $289.2 million decision, later reduced to $20.5 million. In December 2021, Bayer petitioned the Supreme Court to review the Hardeman verdict.
The Supreme Court has asked the Biden Administration to offer its opinion on whether the case should be reviewed. And on March 17, Bayer petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the verdict for Alva and Alberta Pilliod, a California couple who were awarded $2 billion in 2019 for their personal injury claims. Their award was later reduced to $86.7 million.