Bayer on winning streak in Roundup litigation after huge initial losses

The historic headquarters of German pharmaceutical and chemical maker Bayer AG is pictured in Leverkusen
The logo of Bayer AG is pictured at the facade of the historic headquarters of the German pharmaceutical and chemical maker. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
  • Bayer wins fifth consecutive trial on charges Roundup weedkiller causes cancer
  • Initial multimillion-dollar verdicts were for individual plaintiffs

(Reuters) - Bayer AG has won its fifth consecutive trial over claims that its weedkiller Roundup causes cancer, the company announced Thursday.

A jury returned the verdict in favor of the company in St. Louis, Missouri state court after a month-long trial involving three plaintiffs. The case, which was the first Roundup trial involving more than one plaintiff, was the fifth consecutive trial victory for the German company over the product.

"The jury's conclusions are consistent with the assessments of expert regulators worldwide as well as the overwhelming evidence from four decades of scientific studies concluding that Roundup can be used safely and is not carcinogenic," Bayer said in a statement.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Roundup-related lawsuits have dogged Bayer since it acquired the brand as part of its $63 billion purchase of agricultural seeds and pesticides maker Monsanto Co in 2018. The German conglomerate has said that decades of studies have shown Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate, are safe for human use.

Its recent string of trial victories comes amid legal setbacks, as it has unsuccessfully sought to overturn past multimillion-dollar verdicts and court rulings in an effort to avoid potentially billions of dollars in liability.

The U.S. Supreme Court in June rejected two challenging jury verdicts of $25 million and $87 million on the grounds that federal regulators' approval of Roundup should bar private lawsuits. A federal appeals court in July rejected that same argument when it revived a Georgia man's Roundup case.

The company in 2020 reached a deal to settle most of the roughly 100,000 then-pending Roundup lawsuits for nearly $10 billion, but failed to win court approval for a proposed $2 billion settlement of future claims.

Bayer said in 2021 that it will stop selling glyphosate-based weedkillers in the U.S. residential market for non-professional gardeners, which the company has said accounts for the "vast majority" of lawsuits. It will continue to sell glyphosate-based weedkillers to farmers, who rely on it heavily.

The case is Alesi v. Monsanto Co, 21st Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri, No. 19SL-CC03617.

For plaintiffs: Gibbs Henderson and Erin Wood of Fears Nachawati

For Bayer: Manuel Cachan of Proskauer Rose; and Jennifer Saulino of Covington & Burling

Read more:

U.S. Supreme Court again nixes Bayer challenge to weedkiller suits

U.S. Supreme Court rejects Bayer bid to nix Roundup weedkiller suits

U.S. appeals court revives Roundup weedkiller cancer lawsuit

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Brendan Pierson reports on product liability litigation and on all areas of health care law. He can be reached at