A US Judge appointed attorney Kenneth Feinberg mediator for the upcoming court-ordered mediation sessions concerning federal litigation over allegations that Roundup weed killer causes cancer. The Bayer AG product contains glyphosate, which has been reported as carcinogenic based on several medical studies.
Feinberg is to meet with attorneys for plaintiffs and Bayer within two weeks of receiving the assignment according to the judge in San Francisco who is overseeing approximately 900 federal lawsuits related to the matter.
Feinberg was appointed after the two sides failed to choose a mediator on their own.
In the past, Feinberg facilitated resolutions in several high-stakes mediations including the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, General Motors ignition switch lawsuits, and the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster.
The next federal Roundup trial is scheduled for February 2020 if a settlement is not reached and would be the second bellwether trial. Bellwether trials are used to determine damage ranges and define settlement options for parties involved in similar lawsuits.
The judge also asked that 20 other cases be prepared and sent to other courts throughout the country.
There are currently more than 13,000 plaintiffs throughout the country who allege Roundup caused them to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. According to the lawsuits, Roundup’s manufacturer was aware of the risk and failed to warn consumers or add any sort of label to their product concerning the risk.
Bayer purchased Monsanto, the original maker of Roundup, in 2018. According to the company, glyphosate has been deemed safe for human use.
Bayer has said it will participate in good faith in the mediation attempt and will also defend itself in all lawsuits that are pending. Three cases are currently under appeal after verdicts were found in favor of plaintiffs.