Bayer was cleared of liability on Sept. 6 in a Roundup cancer trial held in a Missouri state court, home of the controversial weedkiller’s creator, Monsanto. The trial began Aug. 3 and consolidated the cases of three plaintiffs, all of whom are in their 60s and 70s with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer the plaintiffs allegedly developed because of frequent, years-long exposure to glyphosate, the main active ingredient in Roundup.
The trial was the first to involve multiple plaintiffs. Juries returned multi-million-dollar verdicts in the first three trials, which were held in 2018 and 2019. Bayer has successfully defended itself in the last five Roundup trials, including the Sept. 6 verdict.
Bayer settled approximately 100,000 Roundup cancer claims in 2020 for nearly $11 billion. The company still faces tens of thousands of Roundup lawsuits by plaintiffs who refused to sign on to the settlement.
The plaintiffs in the most recent trial were a woman who lives in the Seattle area and two men who live in Florida. All three plaintiffs claimed that they frequently applied Roundup to their gardens while doing yard work. They allege that Monsanto knowingly withheld the risks of using glyphosate from the public.
After the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review two different Roundup plaintiff verdicts earlier this year – the case of Alva and Alberta Pilliod for $87 million and Edwin Hardeman for $25 million – Bayer will still have to face upcoming Roundup trials that are scheduled for later this year and 2023 if no additional settlement is reached.
Bayer had appealed these verdicts hoping that the nation’s high court would overturn the decisions based on the fact that federal labeling laws supersede state failure-to-warn claims.
In 2021, Bayer announced that it would cease selling Roundup with glyphosate as the main active ingredient. The move will ban the sale to residential customers by next year. Roundup products with glyphosate will still be available to farmers and agricultural businesses.