In July of 2021, agrochemical giant Bayer announced that the company would stop selling their popular weed killer Roundup to residential consumers beginning in 2023. Glyphosate, which is the primary ingredient in this herbicide, has been the focus of lawsuits and controversy for many years.
While the move to pull the product from shelves may not be surprising, the reasoning behind it warrants further exploration. If you're a current or past Roundup user, you'll want to learn more about the motivations for this change and how it may impact you.
Why is Bayer Pulling Roundup from the Market?
Despite the alleged link between glyphosate and certain types of cancer, Bayer continues to assert that the ingredient is safe. According to the company, “this move is being made exclusively to manage litigation risk and not because of any safety concerns.”
When sales of the product cease, it will be replaced with a new formula that will not include glyphosate. However, this change will only apply to residential customers in the American market. Commercial farmers in the United States will still have access to the original formula and it will continue to be sold for both residential and commercial use overseas.
According to the company's website, this move is part of a five-point plan to reduce the company’s risk of further lawsuits and put "uncertainty" behind them, so the company and its shareholders can "move on." Since most claims are coming from residential users in the United States, Bayer believes this change will curb the majority of future claims.
Why Are People Suing Bayer Over Roundup?
Bayer has been dealing with lawsuits surrounding Roundup since it purchased Monsanto in 2018. To date, there have already been over 150,000 claims made regarding the link between exposure to the product and the development of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CCL), non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), and other diseases.
These claims have been supported by research done by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). In 2015, the organization found that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.”
Later, a regulatory review was opened by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In January of 2020, the EPA found that glyphosate does not create a risk to human health when used according to directions and that it is not a carcinogen. However, despite these conflicting conclusions, thousands of Roundup users who developed cancer have sued the product's manufacturer and received tens of millions of dollars in damages.
Recent Lawsuit Victories
In June of 2020, Bayer announced a series of agreements that would cost the company over $10 billion to resolve outstanding lawsuits and unresolved claims. Approximately 96,000 of 125,000 current cases have been resolved, and plaintiffs have either already received their settlement checks or will receive them in 2022.
The remaining plaintiffs refused to join the settlement class and instead opted to have their cases litigated separately. Bayer proposed a $2 billion plan to settle these and other future claims. In May of 2021, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria rejected the class action proposal, calling it “clearly unreasonable.”
If allowed to go through, this plan would have put all future claims in limbo. However, as s a result of the ruling, victims of glyphosate exposure will still have recourse. Several months after the ruling, Bayer set aside $4.5 billion for future Roundup claims. It's unclear whether this will be enough to cover its ongoing liability.
In November of 2021, a California couple who both developed cancer after using Roundup was awarded $86.2 million after the courts found that Monsanto knowingly marketed a product that contained an active ingredient (glyphosate) that it knew was dangerous. While Monsanto challenged the ruling, California’s highest court upheld it in a 2-1 ruling.
Can I Sue Roundup?
Since there is a possible 10-to-15-year lag time between exposure to glyphosate and the development of cancer, it’s likely that victims will continue to come forth for decades. Despite the previous settlement agreements, it's still possible to file new cases. In fact, if a person’s illness develops after an existing settlement, they would not be bound by it since their claims did not exist at the time the settlement occurred.
If you or a loved one has developed CCL or NHL after prolonged exposure to glyphosate, it’s not too late to file a Roundup lawsuit. Some of the most common categories of people who qualify for these lawsuits include those who have been exposed to glyphosate and:
- Have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and are currently undergoing treatment
- Have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and do not yet need treatment
- Have previously undergone treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
If you’ve lost an immediate family member (spouse, parent, or child) to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, you may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Request a Case Evaluation
While lawsuits over the safety of glyphosate have been successful in the past, a positive outcome is not a given. This is why it’s so important to work with a qualified attorney who is experienced in glyphosate exposure cases. From filing your claim to working with medical experts and fighting for you in court, your legal team will handle each critical detail for you.
It’s also important to note that each state has its own statute of limitations for filing these types of cases. While this may vary, in most cases, the countdown begins when a person receives their diagnosis. The statute of limitations typically ranges from one to six years. This makes it critical to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after you’re officially diagnosed. Otherwise, you may run out of time and find that you’re excluded from filing a Roundup lawsuit.
If you believe you’ve been injured by exposure to glyphosate, the attorneys at Cooney and Conway are here to help. To get started, complete our complementary Case Evaluation Form. We'll review your information and reach out to you to discuss your options.