Earlier this year, the Monsanto company faced a lawsuit because of their Roundup Weed Killer because it was found to contain harmful carcinogenic chemicals. The Monsanto lawsuit suggests that the manufacturer has known about the ingredients’ carcinogenic properties for decades, but failed to notify consumers.
Although using the weed killer doesn’t cause cancer, it does increase the risk of an individual developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma, as it did for DeWayne Johnson, a school groundskeeper exposed to high amounts of the carcinogen. Later on, in August, the jury ordered the manufacturer to pay the plaintiff damages amounting to USD289 million.
The Probability of Settlements
So far, there have been some developments in the lawsuit and in early November, Werner Baumann, the chief executive for Bayer, told news sources that the company may consider settling the lawsuit.
That is, if the court costs of defending the company against the allegations that the weed killer contained glyphosate, rises higher than the cost of settling it. Nonetheless, the representative for the German pharmaceutical manufacturer stressed that the company is focused on protecting the brand against the claims that Roundup Weedkiller causes cancer.
Germany-based company Bayer had acquired the manufacturing company Monsanto for USD63 billion earlier this year. The chief executive explained that from an economic standpoint, it would be favorable to settle the lawsuit before the point when it would cost more to prepare a defense than it would to simply pay out settlements.
Of course, he reinstated the company’s position by explaining that they aim to defend the brand during the course of the litigation.
The Current Situation for Monsanto and Bayer
Ever since August 10, when a jury in San Francisco awarded damages to a school groundskeeper DeWayne Johnson because the manufacturer failed to inform consumers about the risk of high exposure to the weed killer, Bayer’s shares have decreased in value by 25 percent. The plaintiff alleged that he developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a result of exposure to the glyphosate-based herbicide, RoundUp Weed Killer.
The company denied that the ingredient is carcinogenic in nature and has continued to defend its position; they supported their argument with studies that supposedly claim glyphosate to be safe for human use.
But despite their arguments, the number of glyphosate-related cancer cases increased, which told a different story. In such little time, the number of concerning cases rose to over 8,700, which was a matter of concern for potential investors, who were wondering the extent to which the litigation costs would impact the combined company’s profit margin.
The CEO for Bayer pharmaceuticals was confident in the company’s ability to handle the litigation and explained how they tackled the so-called inexpensive settlement of USD12 million, which they paid in response to the lawsuits over their Mirena IUD.
Baumann explained that since Bayer has experience in handling lawsuits as a pharmaceutical company, they have enough experience to defend Monsanto in the glyphosate lawsuit. After both the companies integrated into a single venture in August, they revised their legal strategy to improve their defense in the upcoming Monsanto cases. As of yet, there is no confirmation as to whether Bayer will pay settlements or not.