(Reuters) – A US judge on Wednesday appointed the prominent lawyer Kenneth Feinberg as mediator of court settlement settlements in the federal disputes on allegations that Bayer AG's glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused cancer.
Mr. Feinberg has been instructed to meet with lawyers for Bayer and plaintiff within the next 14 days, said US District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco during a court hearing Wednesday.
Judge Chhabria, who oversees approximately 900 federal Roundup trials, in April 11 ordered the parties to initiate confidential mediation. He appointed Mr Feinberg after the parties failed with an agreement on a mediator.
Mr. Feinberg is well known for having facilitated dispute resolution in headquarters disputes earlier. He led the conciliation negotiations over the September 1
Judge Chhabria on Wednesday also planned the next federal Roundup trial for February 2020. The case would mark the second bellwether or test trial, to help determine damages scale and define settlement options for federal cases.
The judge also wants to prepare 20 cases that are currently awaiting him for trial and send them to other courts across the country.
More than 13,400 plaintiffs nationwide Roundup caused non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and that the company did not warn of that risk. The majority of the trials are awaiting state courts across the country.
Bayer, which acquired Roundup manufacturer Monsanto in a $ 63 billion deal last year, denies claims, studies and regulators say have considered glyphosate and Roundup safe for human use. 19659002] The company previously said it would follow Judge Chhabria's mediation order in good faith, while strongly believing in the "comprehensive body of reliable science that supports Roundup's security".
Bayer has also said that it would defend all cases and wait for the appeal process for the three cases that have been brought to trial and resulted in the jury's judgments against it.
A jury in California on May 13 awarded $ 2 billion to a couple who claimed that Roundup caused their cancer.
In March, a federal jury in San Francisco granted $ 80 million to a California man after finding Roundup caused his cancer.
The decision came after another jury in California in August 2018 awarded $ 289 million illion to a groundskeeper in the first US Roundup trial. This award was later reduced to $ 78 million.