Supreme Court Rejects Bayer Appeal To Close Roundup Lawsuits

The US Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by Bayer to shut down several lawsuits, which claimed that the usage of its Roundup weed killer led to cancer.

The justices left in place a $25 million judgment in favor of California resident, Edwin Hardeman, who claimed that he developed cancer from using Roundup for a long time to treat poison oak, overgrowth and weeds at his San Francisco Bay Area property. This lawsuit had been used as a test case for many similar legal suits.

The high court’s decision follows many court battles over the weed killer and its effects, which have come to different conclusions.

Last Friday, a panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals had rejected an Environmental Protection Agency 2020 finding that glyphosate does not affect humans seriously and is “not likely” to cause cancer. The court had asked the EPA to relook into its findings.

During the same period, Bayer won four consecutive trials in state courts against people who claimed they developed cancer from their usage of Roundup. The latest verdict was reached in the state court of Oregon.

The company said in a statement that federal regulators have always deemed its products safe, and the lawsuits based on claims, which are in trial in state courts should be discharged.

In 2021, Bayer had set aside an amount of $4.5 billion to settle claims that glyphosate, the weed-killing ingredient in Roundup, was the main cause of non-Hodgins lymphoma type of cancer. The company had earlier charged nearly $10 billion for earlier rounds of litigation.

Bayer became the owner of Roundup and the litigation when it acquired Monsanto in the year 2018.

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, which is part of the World Health Organization, said that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The agency clarified that it depended on “limited” evidence of cancer in people and “sufficient” evidence of cancer in study animals.

The Justice Department, which had taken Bayer’s side in the lower courts during the Trump administration, said that the high court not get involved.

The company is sticking to its stand that its product is safe and it would replace glyphosate in Roundup for use in residential homes from 2023. Products having glyphosate will still be available for professional and farm use.

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