Articles Tagged with non-Hodgkin lymphoma

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Roundup Settlement News
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.

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Settlement talks have begun in the Roundup non-Hodgkin lymphoma litigation
Last week news media outlets reported that Bayer AG and Monsanto had offered to settle United States Roundup cases for an amount up to $8,000,000,000. That’s eight billion dollars. If true, it would be welcome news, or at least a good start, as there are currently over 18,000 cases filed against the companies. These lawsuits allege that extended exposure to Roundup caused plaintiffs to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), a serious cancer that can spread to lymph nodes throughout the body. For plaintiffs afflicted with a serious illness like NHL, news that a global settlement has been achieved is always welcome, because these plaintiffs need compensation as soon as possible, and years of expensive litigation is not good for anyone (except maybe defense lawyers).

The news reports of settlement flashed across the Internet, as such things do, perhaps encouraged by recent statements made by Bayer’s CEO that the company would consider settling on reasonable terms if all United States cases could resolve. Further, Bayer and Monsanto recently lost a Roundup case where a California jury awarded a couple $2 billion dollars for the non-Hodgkin lymphoma they both contracted after using Roundup for years. You can read about that $2 billion Roundup verdict here.

Despite all that, on Friday Mediator Ken Feinberg issued a statement that “Bayer has not proposed paying $8 billion to settle all the U.S. Roundup cancer claims. Such a statement is pure fiction,” and that “[c]ompensation has not even been discussed in the global mediation discussions.” So there you have it. At this point I would recommend you listen to Mr. Feinberg’s statement, as he is a central figure in the Roundup settlement talks.

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Studies have linked Roundup to non-Hodgkins lymphoma
The makers of Roundup just lost another big case, this time involving a couple who used the weedkiller and were later diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This month, a jury in California awarded Alva and Alberta Pilliod more than two billion dollars. The jury found that Monsanto and Bayer acted negligently and failed to warn the plaintiffs of the dangers of using Roundup. The key active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, has been shown in studies to increase the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The jury then awarded Mr. Pilliod $18 million in “compensatory damages,” which is a money award for actual injuries suffered. The jury awarded Ms. Pilliod $37 million in compensatory damages, for a total of $55 million in compensatory damages. Finally, the jury awarded the Pilliods $1 billion each in punitive damages. The final jury award was $2,055,000,000. A truly astonishing number, and a major rebuke to the makers of Roundup.

The Pilliods testified that they used Roundup on their property for more than thirty years, from 1975 and 2011. They were diagnosed with NHL in 2011 and 2015.

Punitive damages play an important role in consumer protection. Punitives are awarded by a jury to punish or deter a bad-acting company, and similarly situated companies, from engaging in similarly awful conduct. Punitive damages are not common, and are usually awarded when a jury decides that the defendants had prior knowledge of a serious issue or problem and ignored this knowledge to the serious injury or detriment of other people.