The Bayer Corporation responded to a complaint brought against them and the Monsanto Company, Inc. last Wednesday in the Northern District of California. In their response, Bayer denies the plaintiff’s allegations that they downplayed the risk of potential liability for Roundup cancer lawsuits while they were in the process of acquiring the Monsanto Company.
The Monsanto Company was acquired by Bayer in 2018. Monsanto’s product, Roundup, is widely used across the country as a weed killer. Roundup contains a chemical called glyphosate, which is purportedly a toxic chemical that has been connected to various diagnoses of cancer, specifically non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In 2018, Monsanto had to pay almost $80 million in damages due to a lawsuit against them concerning the effects of Roundup.
When Bayer was acquiring Monsanto, the plaintiff alleged that they made false positive statements regarding the benefits of the merger. By downplaying the potential liability they might face for the Roundup cancer lawsuits, Bayer was able to maintain artificially inflated stock prices throughout the merger.
Bayer denied the allegations in their most recent response. They asserted that the complaint failed to state an adequate claim upon which relief could be granted, that the plaintiff did not cite any “scientifically reliable evidence that the products at issue were defective or unreasonably dangerous,” and that any negligent conduct they engaged in was insubstantial in contributing to the alleged injuries.
Further, Bayer claims that the plaintiff’s claims contending that Bayer withheld information from the Environmental Protection Agency are preempted by federal law. Their claims are also preempted as a result of EPA findings that “glyphosate does not cause cancer in humans and/or because of U.S. EPA-approved product labeling.”
The response also maintains that the alleged injuries were not results of Bayer’s own misconduct, but rather from diseases or causes that were not connected to Roundup or from acts and omissions from entities Bayer is not responsible for.
Bayer’s response seeks favorable judgment from the Northern District of California and for the Court to dismiss the complaint with prejudice. Bayer is represented in the litigation by Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP.