(Reuters) – A US judge appeared receptive on Wednesday to aspects of Bayer AG's proposed $ 2 billion settlement to resolve future allegations that its best-selling Roundup herbicide is causing cancer.
The deal would cover two types of Roundup users, those who currently have non-Hodgkin's lymphoma but have not retained a lawyer, whom the judge described as "class one", and those who have been exposed to Roundup but are not ill. .
"A solution of this kind could potentially be reasonable for Class One," said U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco at the beginning of Wednesday's hearing.
Judge Chhabria acknowledged that he was more receptive to aspects of the plan than on Tuesday, when he put questions on the dock and asked why class members would agree on the deal when jury trials have gone well against Bayer.
Bayer inherited Roundup, a glyphosate-based herbicide and litigation as part of a $ 63 billion acquisition of Monsanto in 201
The company has said that decades of studies have shown that Roundup and glyphosate are safe for human use.Bayer last year defeated an attempt by California to require a cancer warning label on the herbicide.
The deal would create a class of potential Millions of people who have been exposed to Roundup at home or at work.
Roundup users can choose in the coming months and bra all their full legal rights. Those who become part of the class would be eligible for free medical examinations and up to $ 200,000 if they develop non-Hodgkin's lymphoma during the four-year term of the agreement.
The agreement would pause all disputes for four years and prevent class members from seeking criminal damages if they refuse compensation and ultimately decide to sue.
The stakes are high. Bayer has previously said that more than half of its herbicide revenues, totaling almost € 5 billion by 2020, were related to glyphosate.
Critics of the settlement say the proposal would unfairly restrict consumers' legal rights.
"It is an impeccable gift to Monsanto," said an objection to the settlement of 93 personal injury law firms.
Bayer has said that the law has been misapplied in the three cases that went to trial, each resulting in tens of millions of dollars for plaintiffs.
One of these trials, a $ 25 million verdict against Bayer, was upheld by an appeals board on Friday.
Bayer said it would ask the US Supreme Court to investigate the case. It is hoped that a favorable outcome would essentially obliterate future claims against it. She argued in court documents that the plan provides for outreach to undocumented migrant workers and other individuals who have so far not brought many of the allegations against Bayer.
The class proposal proposal also sets up a science panel to spend the four-year disputes. pause to evaluate the link between Roundup and cancer.
An earlier version of the settlement presented in June suggested that Bayer and class members be tied to the panel's results.
Judge Chhabria said in July that he was concerned that the panel was replacing a jury with researchers. The parties then downplayed the role of the panel.
On Tuesday, the judge questioned how the science panel could be in the interest of class members, given how well jury trials have gone for the plaintiff. Catalog