Supreme Court Rejects Bayer Bid To Stop Roundup Lawsuits

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has rejected Bayer’s appeal to shut down thousands of lawsuits claiming that its Roundup weedkiller causes cancer.

Tuesday’s judgment was $25 million in favor Edwin Hardeman. He is a Californian man who claims that he contracted cancer after using Roundup to control poison oak overgrowth, weeds, and weeds at his San Francisco Bay Area property. Hardeman’s lawsuit had served as a test case for thousands of similar lawsuits.

The high court’s action comes amid a series of court fights over Roundup that have pointed in different directions.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel rejected a 2020 Environmental Protection Agency finding that glyphosate poses no serious health risk. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an Environmental Protection Agency finding from 2020 that glyphosate does not pose a serious health risk and is “not likely” to cause cancer in humans. The appellate court directed the EPA’s to reexamine their finding.

Bayer won four state court cases in succession against Roundup-users. Oregon was the latest to give Bayer a favorable verdict.

Bayer argued federal regulators had repeatedly deemed its products safe and that any lawsuits that were based upon claims made under state law should be dropped.

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Bayer had set aside $4.5 billion last year to settle claims that Roundup’s herbicide glyphosate causes non-Hodgins type cancer. For earlier litigation rounds, Bayer had already taken nearly $10 billion.

Bayer had also warned against the possibility of allowing such claims to be made. This could lead to a loss in innovation, both in agriculture and healthcare.

Bayer acquired Monsanto’s Roundup in 2018 and took the litigation with it.

The EPA says on its website that there is “no evidence glyphosate causes cancer humans.” But in 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate as ”probably carcinogenic to humans.” The agency said it relied on “limited” evidence of cancer in people and “sufficient” evidence of cancer in study animals.

Although Bayer had been represented in lower courts by the Justice Department during Trump’s presidency, it was recommended that the Supreme Court not intervene.

Bayer claims the product is safe but stated that Roundup will be replacing it for residential use starting in 2023. For professional use and for farm purposes, products containing glyphosate are still available.

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