In mid-December, the nation’s high court asked U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar for the administration’s views on whether the court should hear Bayer AG’s appeal of a Roundup cancer trial that awarded plaintiff Edwin Hardeman $25 million.
As a result of the request, Bayer announced that it was suspending discussions over settling future Roundup claims, the Wall St. Journal (WSJ) reported.
Despite the encouraging news for Bayer, which has settled approximately 98,000 of 125,000 Roundup cancer claims, legal experts caution that the likelihood that the U.S. Supreme Court will review Hardeman v. Monsanto remains low. Furthermore, even if the court does take the case, it could still rule against Bayer.
WSJ added that it will likely take Prelogar several months to respond to the court’s request to weigh in on the litigation.
Bayer has been litigating against Roundup lawsuits almost since the day it acquired the Monsanto name and Roundup product line in 2018 for $63 billion. One month after the acquisition was finalized in June 2018, the first high-profile consumer Roundup lawsuit trials began.
In May 2021, Judge Vince Chhabria, who is overseeing the consolidation of federal Roundup cases, rejected – for the second time – Bayer’s plan to resolve future Roundup trials for $2 billion, ruling Bayer’s plan would not adequately address the concerns of families who may later be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Bayer hopes that if the U.S. Supreme Court takes up its request to review the Hardeman case, it will issue a favorable ruling for the company based on the preemption clause.
The company maintains that the Ninth Circuit’s ruling on the Hardeman case was invalid because any state law that requires a cancer warning label is preempted by federal law. Because no federal agency, including the Environmental Protection Agency, has deemed glyphosate carcinogenic to humans, no state may mandate a cancer warning label, Bayer has asserted.
Out of the thousands of cases it is requested to review, the U.S. Supreme Court hears approximately 70 cases each term, which is roughly October through July,
WSJ also reports that Bayer has earmarked $16 billion for future Roundup litigation.