A California federal judge said he wouldn’t approve a $2 billion settlement to cover future claims that Monsanto’s weedkiller Roundup causes cancer, finding that while the deal does a lot for the Bayer AG unit, it has “tenuous” benefits for class members.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said the deal is “clearly unreasonable” for a group of potential, future Roundup plaintiffs who were exposed to the weedkiller and then developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The deal, which has gone through several iterations with a rising dollar figure, is aimed at resolving claims that would be brought in the future by either Roundup users with cancer who have not yet hired a lawyer or users who haven’t been diagnosed as of now but develop cancer later.
The $2 billion deal in question was announced in February and would provide up to $200,000 each for people who were exposed to Roundup and diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,allocate $50 million to a fund for payments above that for “extraordinary” cases and, offer free legal services, and an EPA-issued label with more information about Roundup and cancer.
But the deal was met with opposition from other plaintiffs lawyers and law firms, especially over the creation of the science panel and the fact that Roundup will stay on the market. Even though Monsanto and the class counsel made changes to the deal in April,, those tweaks didn’t satisfy opposing attorneys.
In return for these purported benefits, Roundup users would have to make two major sacrifices, according to the judge .For example,, while they can opt out of the compensation program and file suit against Monsanto, they would still give up their right to seek punitive damages against the company, and, given the amount of damages awarded in previous cases, that’s a lot of money to give up.
The $2 billion plan follows Monsanto’s separate, $9.6 billion settlement from last year to resolve the bulk of the multidistrict litigation from actual claimants alleging that Roundup caused cancer.