Bayer Uses COVID-19 to Backpedal Roundup Settlement Negotiations
Posted on Wednesday, April 29th, 2020
OnderLaw continues to fight for Roundup glyphosate cancer victims.
Wednesday, April 29, 2020 – Though a shareholder board meeting this week has put pressure on Bayer to settle nearly 100,000 lawsuits filed on behalf of cancer victims, Bayer attorneys are now taking advantage of court delays to offer victims even less in compensation.
Over the last six months, Monsanto submitted offers to settle current Roundup cases. While a handful of law firms agreed to accept the settlement on behalf of their clients, OnderLaw attorneys believe that the amount offered in settlement would not adequately compensate our clients. After each client paid medical liens and other bills related to their cancer, most would have had very little left in their pockets.
Despite the already-inadequate settlement offer, early April, Bayer decided to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and use it as an excuse to reduce the offer even more. Knowing that jury trials would be delayed, and that the pandemic had bought time before the corporate giant would have to face additional trials, Bayer exercised its so-called walk-away rights to renege on the settlement agreements.
Bayer then went back to those attorneys who had agreed to the inadequate settlements and asked them to take a lesser sum. It is reported that Bayer asked plaintiffs to take anywhere from 10-25% less than the already insufficient amount upon which it had originally agreed.
“While the entire world is uniting to fight this horrific pandemic, Bayer has chosen to show its true colors, exercising its walk-away rights on the Roundup settlement,” said OnderLaw attorney Jim Onder.
“Bayer now wants to renegotiate and take further advantage of the economic desperation of its victims by bullying them into taking pennies on the dollar, so that Bayer might save billions at the expense of ill cancer patients.
“What a time to walk away when the victims of Monsanto’s neglect need it most!” he added.
Bayer Shareholder Meeting
German-based Bayer, which acquired St. Louis-based Monsanto in 2018 for about $60 billion, has lost all three glyphosate cancer trials that have been held thus far. Jurors have awarded more than $2 billion to four plaintiffs. Those awards have been significantly reduced on appeal, but they still caused significant concern among the corporation’s shareholders, many of whom expressed votes of no confidence in the company’s leadership last year.
It had looked like Bayer was going to put pressure on Monsanto to resolve the litigation before this year’s April 28 board meeting. After early furious attempts to reach a quick resolution, it became clear that Bayer was not willing to pay enough to settle the litigation. Rather than tell shareholders the truth about the inadequate authority, it appears Monsanto has used the COVID crisis to buy more time.
Bayer shareholders and board members met virtually for their annual meeting. According to a press release issued by Bayer, shareholders like Deka Investors expressed at the meeting that they are eager to see the lawsuits come to an end; however, the board did not renew its no confidence vote to keep the pressure on Monsanto..
Ingo Speich, Deka’s head of sustainability and corporate governance, submitted a vote of confidence at this year’s meeting, despite expressing disapproval last year. “But with this vote we make an urgent call to bring clarity soon in the matter of litigation,” he said.
OnderLaw Taking a Stand
At OnderLaw, we were of the opinion that the numbers that have been offered by Bayer to-date have been wholly insufficient. As such, we have remained steadfast in our trial strategy, continuing to do all we can to prepare our cases for trial.
We are optimistic that we will be able to get a Roundup trial before a jury by late fall. Until then, OnderLaw attorneys continue to work to ensure our clients receive adequate compensation. We will continue to fight for our clients in this case and others where we believe corporations have put profits over the lives of people.