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Supreme Court rejects Bayer's bid to end Roundup lawsuits

Supreme Court rejects Bayer's bid to end Roundup lawsuits
Bayer could face billions in legal settlements over claims its weedkiller Roundup causes cancer after the Supreme Court refused to hear the company's appeal Tuesday. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

June 21 (UPI) -- The Supreme Court rejected an appeal Tuesday from Bayer, the maker of Roundup, to end thousands of lawsuits over claims the weedkiller causes cancer.

The justices declined Bayer's appeal to invalidate the $25 million jury verdict in favor of Ed Hardeman, who claimed his non-Hodgkin lymphoma was caused by decades of using Roundup. The court's decision to leave the 2019 federal jury verdict intact could expose Bayer to billions of dollars in other settlements.

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Bayer AG has been fighting thousands of lawsuits since purchasing the maker of Roundup, Monsanto, in 2018. The German conglomerate argues the cases should be dismissed because the weedkiller was cleared by federal regulators, including the Environmental Protection Agency which said glyphosate -- the substance linked to many of the cancer diagnoses -- is not carcinogenic.

"The consensus among leading health regulators worldwide is that glyphosate-based products can be used safely and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic, and the 40 years of extensive scientific research on which their favorable consultations are based," Bayer said in a statement in 2019.

RELATED Jury awards couple $2B in Roundup weedkiller cancer case

Bayer said it "respectfully disagrees" with the court's decision Tuesday. The company argued it undermines the actions of expert regulatory agencies which called the weedkiller safe.

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"Bayer continues to stand fully behind its Roundup products which are a valuable tool in efficient agricultural production around the world," the company said.

A lawyer who represents Roundup plaintiffs said cases against Bayer will continue to move forward.

RELATED Jury awards $289 million to man in Monsanto case

"Today, SCOTUS has set a clear path for recovery in the courts, and we look forward to having jury trials throughout the country for decades to come," said Matthew Stubbs, a lawyer at the firm Duncan Stubbs. "We're grateful that SCOTUS has put an end to Bayer's strategy of deny and delay."

Bayer has set aside $16 billion to deal with litigation and plans to start removing glyphosate from Roundup sold to residential customers in the United States. Glyphosate will remain in Roundup sold to commercial users, which account for most of the company's sales.

On Friday, a federal appeals court ordered the EPA to re-examine the active ingredient glyphosate and whether it poses a health risk.

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