January 31, 2020 / 4:54 PM / 25 days ago

FACTBOX-Bayer faces lengthy Roundup appeals and settlement talks continue

Jan 31 (Reuters) - Bayer AG’s shares have taken a hit since three consecutive U.S. juries awarded more than $2 billion in damages to cancer patients alleging that the company’s glyphosate-based weed killer, Roundup, caused their disease.

Bayer, which acquired Roundup maker Monsanto for $63 billion in 2018, denies the allegations, saying decades of studies and regulatory approvals have shown glyphosate and Roundup to be safe for human use.

But the company faces similar U.S. lawsuits by more than 42,700 plaintiffs and shareholders have rebuked Bayer’s top management over its handling of the Monsanto acquisition and the litigation it inherited.

The company’s shares have lost about 20% of their value since the first adverse jury verdict in August 2018.

Bayer has appealed or vowed to appeal all verdicts against it, but said the litigation will take some time to conclude as no case has been subject to appellate review to assess key legal rulings in the trials.

Here is a summary of pending appeals in the U.S. glyphosate litigation:

- The first Roundup jury verdict, a $289 million award in San Francisco state court in August 2018, later reduced to $78 million, is currently on appeal before California’s Court of Appeals, First Appellate District. Bayer in late April 2019 asked the appeals court to throw out the judgment, saying there was “no evidence” glyphosate could cause cancer.

Plaintiffs and Bayer have submitted all their briefs to the court, but no date for oral arguments has yet been scheduled.

- Bayer is also appealing the March 2019 verdict that awarded $80 million to a California man, later reduced to $25 million. The company in December filed its appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department have supported Bayer in that appeal, in a filing urging the court to reverse the verdict as regulatory reviews have found glyphosate to be safe and noncarcinogenic.

But just like California’s state court system, the 9th Circuit also is overwhelmed by a massive case load, hearing more cases than any other federal appeals court in the country. Legal experts said the court was unlikely to schedule arguments before the end of 2020.

- Bayer has said it would also appeal a massive $2 billion verdict issued by a California jury to a couple in May 2019. The judgment was later reduced to $86.7 million. As of Friday, Bayer has not yet filed an appeals brief in the case and any opening brief in the case is due by Feb 7.

Reporting by Tina Bellon in New York Editing by Matthew Lewis

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