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Glyphosate lawsuits: US government takes a stand against Bayer

Status: 05/11/2022 08:32

Headwind for Bayer in the glyphosate dispute over alleged cancer risks in the United States: the United States government has advised the Supreme Court against accepting the motion to dismiss a historical case.

Agrochemical and pharmaceutical group Bayer suffered a setback in the US legal dispute over possible cancer risks caused by the herbicide glyphosate. Attorney General Elizabeth Prelogar, representing the government before the Supreme Court, advised the court against accepting the motion to close the case, siding with the plaintiff. The procedure could have a signal effect for many other causes in the United States.

Billion-dollar legal risks hinge on this for the DAX group. In particular, it is the motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Edwin Hardeman, which accuses the glyphosate-containing products of the US manufacturer Monsanto, which Bayer has detected, for his cancer. In 2019, after a court case, he was awarded a whopping 25 million dollars in damages. In August, the Leverkusen company presented the review of the lower grade decision to the Court of Cassation.

The attorney general on the plaintiff’s side

However, it is still unclear whether the US Supreme Court will handle the case. In December, the judges announced that they would seek the US government’s opinion on what initially appeared to be a sign of interest and therefore positive for Bayer.

EPA approval of the herbicide without warning of certain chronic hazards “does not in itself remove the obligation to provide such warnings,” Attorney General Prelongar wrote in the statement.

Bayer continues to hope the Supreme Court will overturn the decision. The group believes there are good legal arguments to re-examine the case and correct the verdict, the company said. “This is also confirmed by the numerous declarations that have been presented”. For example, the EPA has repeatedly stated that glyphosate-based herbicides can be used safely and are not carcinogenic. “Therefore, a cancer warning on these products would be false and misleading and precluded by relevant federal law,” Bayer said.

Does federal law prevent damage claims?

Bayer also motivated the appeal to the Supreme Court with the so-called Federal Preemption. As a result, the company believes that damages claims for allegedly inadequate cancer risk warnings cannot exist under state law if they conflict with federal law. Furthermore, the Panel is of the view that the admission of experts as witnesses for the plaintiffs did not meet federal standards in the trial.

The government disagreed with Bayer’s argument that federal law prevents damage claims in individual US states. “We always knew the law was on our side, and now the government agrees,” Hardeman’s attorney Jennifer Moore told US media. “It’s a great day for cancer victims in this country who are trying to hold abusers like Monsanto accountable.”

Hardeman was diagnosed with lymph node cancer in 2015. He accuses Monsanto and Bayer of hiding the alleged health risks of glyphosate. The group denies the allegations and argues with studies that aim to show that products containing glyphosate are harmless when used as directed.

Roundop “probably carcinogenic”

The numerous lawsuits Bayer faces in the United States are mainly based on an assessment by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. In 2015, it classified Monsanto’s herbicide as “possibly carcinogenic” to humans.

In the event that the Supreme Court does not want to deal with the glyphosate case or decides definitively against Bayer, the company had allocated $ 4.5 billion in the summer. The money would then be used to set up a schedule to address new applicants over the next 15 years.

The problems and the wave of lawsuits in the US related to the herbicide glyphosate Roundup were supported by Bayer in 2018 with the purchase of more than 60 billion dollars of Monsanto.

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Bianca von der Au, HR, 11.5.2022 08:20

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