In a hearing on Wednesday in the California Northern District Court considered the $2 billion proposed settlement for future claims in a consolidated lawsuit regarding product liability for Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.
“We appreciate the Court’s direction today. It is common for Courts to request some adjustments to class settlement agreements like this and we are confident that, working with class counsel, we will be able to address the matters raised by the Court. We remain committed to settling the Roundup litigation,” Bayer, parent company for Monsanto, said in a statement following the hearing.
Lawsuit Information Center Blog reported that Chhabria “punted” the preliminary approval request, but “seem(ed) to be slowly inching closer and gave the parties some suggestions on how to get to the finish line.”
Before the hearing, Judge Vince Chhabria noted that he had doubts about the settlement, which would give $200,000 to plaintiffs diagnosed with non-hodgkin’s lymphoma linked to Roundup use and would provide medical exams for class members. The judge’s filing expressed doubt that the court could evaluate the settlement with the information currently available, specifically whether it is within the interest of te class and whether the compensation fund is sufficient.
Judge Chhabria said the hearing this week would focus on “big-picture concerns” about the settlement, including the issues with class notice with the large class and low chances of contracting the disease and how the settlement would bind those exposed to Roundup with a quick expiration. The Judge said even if the hearing addressed all of these concerns, another hearing would need to be scheduled to address smaller concerns.
The proposed settlement includes over $10 billion to be paid by Bayer, a majority of the funds will resolve the over 100,000 claims currently filed, and the about $2 billion addressed in this settlement is earmarked for future claims for individuals who have not yet been diagnosed with non-hodgkin’s lymphoma. According to Lawsuit Information Center Blog, this week’s hearing clarified the future claims settlement will address two classes, those who ahve been diagnosed but have not filed a lawsuit and those who have been exposed before the settlement but have not been diagnosed.
The blog reported that Judge Chhabria had concerns with how reasonable the proposal is which were expressed in the hearing, and is not ready to give approval to the settlement. The judge suggested that Bayer may move the settlement closer to approval by adding warning labels on Roundup, which Bayer has resisted in a separate lawsuit.