The litigation over Monsanto’s Round-Up may finally be winding up. Or, at least, starting to near the end. Bayer and the class-action lawyers have come to a settlement agreement. They’ve submitted it for court approval.
The Round-Up litigation took off after Monsanto lost the first case after a jury trial. Over time, we’ve heard rumors that Bayer, who acquired Monsanto, may enter into a settlement plan to contain the litigation. Now it seems like that may have happened.
According to AgWeb, the “holistic” plan includes the establishment of a fund to compensate claimants for four years; an advisory science panel whose findings would not be preclusive but can be used as evidence in potential future litigation involving class members; a robust notice program; and research and diagnostic programs. Bayer is also seeking permission from EPA to include a link on its label to give Round-Up users more access to scientific data.
The terms aren’t incredibly surprising. Class-actions usually end with a pot of money for future claimants to apply for. And given that Monsanto/Bayer was losing these cases in such epic fashion, settlement is probably the best option. I’m not exactly sure what the science panel is or what its role would be. It sounds like it would be expert evidence offered against any future plaintiffs. But it’s unclear.
As annoyed as I am about these groundless lawsuits, I’ll be happy when it’s over. If settlement allows that to happen, then just do it. It doesn’t help anything to have headlines announcing multi-million dollar verdicts. And even though there’s no evidence showing a link between Round-Up and cancer, a jury trial is not the place to make that argument.
It’s time to move on.