Three law firms who represent thousands of plaintiffs in Roundup litigation against Bayer have told the court overseeing the settlement process that they now have agreements with the company, signaling progress is being made to resolve the litigation.
The firms of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman and Andrus Wagstaff, along with the Moore Law Group, have all filed papers in the Northern District of California reporting they have reached binding master settlement agreements with Bayer. No details of the settlements were included in the filings.
The news comes after a hearing last month at which plaintiffs’ attorneys expressed concern that Bayer was backing out of settlement agreements made earlier. Bayer’s attorney at the hearing before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said the situation had become “more complicated,” but said the company was “aggressively” pursuing settlement.
The sticking point in negotiations appeared to be Bayer’s proposal to spend $1.25 billion as part of a separate class agreement to address potential future litigation, which was rejected by Chhabria.
When it announced settlement of the litigation in June, Bayer said it would be spending $8.8-$9.6 billion to resolve current litigation. But at the hearing, Chhabria told lawyers he probably would have declined to stay the litigation “if you had said to me, we’ve got this settlement in place but it’s contingent on you approving some future settlement.”
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In a statement Tuesday, Bayer said it had indicated last week, when announcing the extension of its contract with CEO Werner Baumann, “that we were accelerating efforts to finalize and implement current settlements, and our progress is consistent with our commitment to pursue a holistic settlement to the Roundup litigation.”
Bayer said it has been making progress with plaintiffs’ lawyers on a revised class plan that will be presented to the court for preliminary approval.
“The details of the revised class plan will be finalized over the coming weeks and a motion for preliminary approval will be filed upon completion of the formal agreement,” Bayer said.
A status conference before Chhabria is scheduled for Sept. 24.
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