In the world today, it is all but impossible to know all the ingredients in the many different products and chemicals that we come into contact with on a daily basis. Even more impossible, is to understand the effects those ingredients will have on us. This implied vulnerability is one of the reasons that Americans place so much responsibility on regulatory bodies and manufacturers to produce safe products. Bayer is the manufacturing company that produces RoundUp, a popular weed killer containing glyphosate. Recently, Bayer has experienced a large amount of legal backlash over RoundUp and its alleged connection to cancers. The legal strain has become so much that a federal judge has suggested RoundUp mediation instead of individual RoundUp trials.
Leading Up To The RoundUp Mediation Decision
Beginning in San Francisco on Thursday, April 12, 2019, U.S. Federal District Judge Vince Chhabria declared that Bayer’s civil lawsuit trial would be canceled in favor of RoundUp mediation. This news followed an $80 million settlement awarded to plaintiffs in Bayer’s second trial, which was also the second consecutive loss for the company.
Bayer has had litigation brought against them by more than 11,200 plaintiffs and the suggestion for RoundUp mediation was designed to prevent excessive strain on the federal court system. Judge Chhabria stated that he believed resources would be better spent organizing the cases collected in the litigation before him. While the Roundup mediation is proceeding, Judge Chhabria will be examining all 11,200 lawsuits to sort them into three primary categories:
- Lawsuits that should be dismissed
- Lawsuits to be returned to the state court they originated in
- Lawsuits to proceed to their original filing location: the federal courts
By sorting out the best ways to proceed, Judge Chhabria believes the courts will not be unduly burdened with a flood of cases that may either be invalid or better handled in other courts. Additionally, the mediation process may be kinder to Bayer than an open trial, which Bayer has gone zero for two in.
For more information about Bayer’s first two trials, see Parker Waichman’s news coverage of Los Angeles’ RoundUp ban here.
Potential Gains of RoundUp Mediation
While the judge’s order requiring mediation may seem like a good sign for the legitimacy of plaintiff’s claims, New York trial lawyer, Thomas G. Rohback, stated in an email that Chhabria’s order requiring mediation isn’t unusual. Rohback also cautioned against reading too much into the RoundUp mediation as leading to a quick settlement.
Bayer will comply with mediation according to spokesman Chris Loder as a show of “Good faith.” In addition to just being a show of faith, mediation will also work in Bayer’s favor. The RoundUp mediation will provide a kind of privacy to the facts and proceedings that is not present in trials. This may prove a boon to Bayer, who say significant damage to their stock prices has been inflicted by headlines of multimillion-dollar settlements and trial testimony.
Judge Chhabria has declared May 22 as the date for a preliminary hearing to discuss mediation efforts and possibly set a new date for the canceled trial. Once RoundUp mediations begin, movement towards a settlement will likely begin. Though it may be a grueling process, analysts at The Insurance Journal predict that a settlement could exceed $5 billion when all is said and done.
For more information about Bayer and the RoundUp-cancer controversy, see Parker Waichman’s in-depth coverage of the issue here.
Finding Representation For RoundUp Mediation
Though trial lawyers like Mr. Rohback are correct, and a settlement may be some time away, there is still a high likelihood that Bayer will end up paying out to plaintiffs. The record currently shows that Bayer lost two trials back-to-back and the flood of new lawsuits has demonstrated that these instances were not isolated and possibly unrelated. While the science of whether or not RoundUp is carcinogenic, the juries have sided with the plaintiffs time and again.
With that in mind, mediation still requires expert legal representation to determine the kind of deal and the specifics of the settlement. If you or a loved one have suffered complications or cancerous symptoms after being exposed to RoundUp and would like to join in on the RoundUp mediation, make sure you have the right representation. Make sure you have Parker Waichman. Parker Waichman LLP has teams of experienced trial lawyers who have a proven track record of advocacy and results. Contact Parker Waichman today for a free RoundUp case consultation.
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