New setback for Bayer. On Tuesday, June 21, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Monsanto’s request for an appeal, which the German group has owned since 2018, making final its sentence to pay $25 million (more than 23 million euros) to a retiree who blamed his cancer on the weedkiller Roundup.
In accordance with custom, the high court did not justify its decision, which could have serious consequences for the group, which is the target of more than 30,000 comparable complaints.
“Bayer respectfully disagrees with the Supreme Court’s decision [but] is fully prepared to face the legal risk associated with potential future claims in the United States,” the group said in a statement. Bayer said it had set aside an additional $4.5 billion to cover further proceedings. The company said it “does not admit any wrongdoing or liability” and “continues to stand behind its Roundup products, a valuable tool for efficient agricultural production around the world.
The court’s choice not to intervene leaves in place Monsanto’s appellate conviction in the lawsuit filed by Edwin Hardeman, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2015. Hardeman was one of the first plaintiffs to sue Monsanto, blaming his cancer on the herbicide he had used on his large property for twenty-five years and accusing Monsanto Group of misleading users by claiming the glyphosate product was harmless.
Denigration and intimidation
Monsanto has always insisted that no study has concluded that glyphosate and Roundup, which was launched in the 1970s, are dangerous. In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the agency of the World Health Organization responsible for listing carcinogens, had, however, classified glyphosate as “probable carcinogen” for humans.
The disclosure, in 2018, in the context of the lawsuits against Monsanto, of numerous internal documents of the American company – the “Monsanto Papers” – has also highlighted its many maneuvers to influence public expertise on glyphosate, denigrate the IARC, intimidate some scientists or even write scientific studies without appearing in its signatories.