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Bayer Settles Roundup Advertising Class Action Lawsuit

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Bayer agrees to pay almost $40 million to settle false advertising claims for Monsanto’s Roundup Weedkiller

Kansas City, MO Monsanto (owned by Bayer) and Scotts Miracle-Gro Products, Inc. claimed that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup weedkiller, is not found in humans or pets and only affects plant enzymes—therefore it is not a health risk to humans and animals. But not everyone believed them.

Monsanto False Advertising Lawsuit


Several plaintiffs in February, 2019 filed a Roundup class action lawsuit in Kansas City, Missouri federal court, according to Bloomberg News.

This false advertising lawsuit is not related with the ongoing personal injury claims alleging that exposure to glyphosate caused tens of thousands of users to develop non-Hodgkins lymphoma and other injuries. (To date, 42,700 people have filed lawsuits against Monsanto alleging that exposure to Roundup herbicide caused them or their loved ones to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and that Monsanto covered up the risks. The current tally of plaintiffs is reportedly over 80,000 and possibly closer to 100,000.)

Roundup Weed & Grass Killer is used by gardeners to kill weeds. Plaintiffs claimed that glyphosate not only affected plants. Rather, this “probable carcinogen” targeted an enzyme in humans and animals that bolsters the immune system, digestion and brain function.

Despite a number of studies linking glyphosate to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma ( for example, the International Journal of Cancer in 2008 published a Swedish study that concluded exposure to glyphosate doubled the risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma within less than 10 years), Monsanto still maintains its herbicide is safe and many countries still approve its use.

The case is Jones v. Monsanto Co., 19-cv-102, U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri (Kansas City).

Roundup Settlement Deal


As part of the $39.5 million settlement Bayer is removing from Roundup Weed and Grass Killer’s label the part that says glyphosate only affects an enzyme found in plants.

But in its annual report released in February, Bayer said it “may incur considerable financial disadvantages from the pending lawsuits or potential future cases if, for example, we are ordered to pay compensatory and possibly punitive damages…or if we assume payment obligations under out-of-court settlements.”

Brent Wisner, an attorney for some of the plaintiffs, said the number of cases poses a “real problem in getting the litigation resolved”. Wisner told Yahoo Finance that this settlement process could fall apart if a deal cannot be made soon. Even with this settlement, Wisner said Bayer has discussed the possibility of bankruptcy for Monsanto, which could result in plaintiffs receiving pennies on the dollar for their claims, according to Yahoo.

Roundup Resistance – Bayer Bankruptcy?


Millions of acres of US farmland have become overrun with weeds resistant to Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup. In response, Bayer and the German chemical giant BASF began promoting and selling to farmers dicamba, including genetically engineered dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton that can be sprayed directly with dicamba. The sales pitch is that weeds in the fields die but the crops do not.

The Guardian reported that dicamba has been in use since the 1960s but traditionally was used sparingly, and not on growing crops, because it has a track record of volatilizing – moving far from where it is sprayed – particularly in warm growing months. As it moves it can damage or kill the plants it drifts across.

BASF and Monsanto in 2011 announced they were collaborating in the development of the dicamba-tolerant cropping systems, granting each other reciprocal licenses, with BASF agreeing to supply formulated dicamba herbicide products to Monsanto. The two companies said these “new” dicamba formulations would stay where they were sprayed and would not drift as older versions of dicamba did.

Monsanto, in a 2015 document, estimated that dicamba damage claims from farmers would total more than 10,000 cases. Recently, a Missouri farmer alleging dicamba drift already won his case with a jury awarding $265 million. Currently over 100 US farmers are litigating in federal court, claiming that Monsanto and BASF collaboration created a “defective” crop system that has damaged orchards, gardens and organic and non-organic farm fields in multiple states.

How many more lawsuits can Bayer face? How deep are Bayer’s pockets?

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