Monsanto Responds to Allegations That It Paid Plaintiff To Appeal Roundup Decision

In response to allegations that it paid John Carson to appeal a lawsuit filed against Monsanto, a subsidiary of Bayer AG to the Eleventh Circuit, asked the appellate court to allow it to file the actual agreement between it and the plaintiff under seal in an unopposed motion on Wednesday, claiming that it was represented poorly to the court. 

The allegations were filed in the matter on April 22 by plaintiffs involved in similar lawsuits in other courts against Monsanto regarding its Roundup herbicide and alleged harm caused by its active ingredient, glyphosate. These plaintiffs alleged that Bayer paid Carson to appeal the lawsuit because the Southern District of Georgia decided to dismiss some of the plaintiffs’ claims and Bayer wants that decision to apply to some of the other lawsuits against it, where it could save them even more money. The third-party plaintiffs alleged that this is improper and that the Eleventh Circuit should be aware of it before considering the case. 

Monsanto, however, argued that the appellate court should disregard the letter, saying the third-party plaintiffs and attorneys did not have grounds to appeal the settlement deal with John Carson. 

The filing explained that Monsanto entered a “‘high-low’ settlement agreement” where the settlement amount Carson would receive depends on how this appeal of the dismissal of his failure-to-warn claim is resolved. The defendant, however, said that the letter brief filed last week “includes hearsay descriptions of the settlement agreement that are incomplete, misleading, and in some respects inaccurate.” 

Monsanto explained that both parties wanted to keep the settlement confidential, but that the court should see the actual settlement because it was misrepresented by the third parties. It argued that a public brief “that discloses the material terms of the settlement” would provide significant transparency, as the court in this case has not been asked to approve the settlement. 

Carson is represented by Southeast Law LLC and Monsanto is represented by Covington & Burling LLP, Pennington, Hollingsworth, and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner