All you have to do is Google a phrase like “Roundup Settlement” and you will get plenty to read. Some articles suggest a massive settlement agreement may be announced any day, while another post may trumpet: “Parties Still Far Apart on Roundup Settlement.” Who is right? The truth is, aside from a very few people, like chief mediator Kenneth Feinberg, no one can say for sure. But this much is true: multi-billion-dollar settlements in massive product liability cases take a long time to complete.
What We Know
So this is what we know as of today: Bayer AG and Monsanto, the two corporate defendants, have been in negotiations with the plaintiffs’ executive teams for several months to attempt a settlement that is reasonable and fair. Multiple media outlets, including The New York Times, are reporting that both sides are discussing a settlement that could involve tens of thousands of plaintiffs and may reach $10 billion dollars. A few media reports indicate the sides are getting closer to a settlement. And if so, that is good news. Still, even though the Wall Street Journal has recently reported that “draft settlement terms” have been reached between defendants and several larger plaintiffs’ law firms, the article also stated that “[a] formal deal hasn’t been signed and could yet fall apart.” So be very cautious about optimistic reports of settlements. Often the final, smaller details are the hardest to hammer out.
And another word of caution: even if a settlement is announced later today, it will take several months before the infrastructure is in place to process the first settlement payouts. Each settlement requires rounds of careful review and paperwork, and this takes a lot of time. The best practice is to hire a lawyer you trust and wait for him or her to provide you with real updates on settlement.
Finally, there is this awful coronavirus. As I write this we are just beginning to see how destructive the pandemic will be to our national health, to employment, to markets, and to our ability to sustain normal business practices. This virus is going to delay everything, from the NBA season to the Roundup Settlement.
Be patient with the Roundup settlement news you read on the Internet. Although I am optimistic things are moving in a positive direction, product liability cases always take longer to resolve than anyone originally predicts. I realize each plaintiff has suffered a serious illness and deserves compensation now, but often the rush to report a rumor of settlement can inflict additional emotional damage if talks later break down. It’s always best to be patient and pace yourself. These things are marathons.
How is Roundup Harmful?
Glyphosate is the key active ingredient in Roundup, a weedkilling compound developed by Monsanto. Unfortunately, by 2008 glyphosate was identified as a risk factor for the development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In a May 2014 study, the International Agency for Research on Cancer determined that glyphosate increased the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma. By March of 2015, that organization stated that glyphosate should be considered a “probable carcinogen.” It works this way: exposure to glyphosate can occur through skin or eye contact or through inhalation. Studies suggest that once glyphosate enters the body, it acts as an antibiotic that kills bad bacteria but also good bacteria. This weakens the body’s immune system and can damage cellular DNA. Often, cellular damage occurs in the mouth and throat.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that starts in the white blood cells and affects the body’s entire lymphatic system, the system responsible for protecting the body against disease and infections. This cancer can begin in any part of the body where lymphatic tissue is found, such as lymph nodes, the spleen, bone marrow, tonsils, and digestive tracts. Cancer that begins in the lymphatic system can spread quickly.
If you used Roundup often and later developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma, feel free to give me a call: 919.546.8788. Either way, be patient and good luck.
Note: Bayer AG and Monsanto deny the connection between the use of Roundup and the increased risk of developing cancer. Photographs used in this post are for illustrative or editorial purposes only and are not intended for any commercial use.