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Bayer Offers Sweeping Settlement to Plaintiffs

December 1, 2020 — Bayer is making significant progress toward settling thousands of U.S. Roundup lawsuits.  A large percentage of the plaintiffs involved in the lawsuits are choosing to participate in the settlement, even if they expect to receive what they consider to be unfair payouts.  According to a letter sent to plaintiffs in late November 2020 by one of the lead law firms in the Roundup litigation, more than 95 percent of the “eligible claimants” are reported to be participating in Bayer’s sweeping settlement plan.  Plaintiffs can opt-out of the settlement and take claims to mediation, or they can find a new lawyer to try their case in court.  The rough estimate on average gross payouts per plaintiff is said to be around $165,000 by the lawyers and plaintiffs involved.  There is no guarantee that a plaintiff’s payout proposal will be anywhere near that average, though, as it could be much higher or much lower. To be eligible to participate in the settlement, the plaintiff has to be a U.S. citizen, have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and had exposure to Roundup for at least one year before their diagnosis.  The terms of the settlement deal state that the agreement with Bayer will be complete when the settlement administrator confirms that over 93 percent of the claimants qualify.  A plaintiff found ineligible by the administrator has 30 days to appeal the decision.  Plaintiffs found eligible will be awarded a number of points by the administrator.  The points are based on specific criteria relating to the plaintiffs’ unique situations and determine the amount of money that they will receive. In the points system, basis points are determined by the age of the plaintiff at the time they were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  They are also determined by the severity of their damages, which can be based upon treatment and the result of treatment.  The levels of severity vary from 1-5.  For example, a death would be given the points equal to a level 5 and more points are given to young people who have endured multiple rounds of treatment.  There are other adjustments allowed to the point system that give plaintiffs additional points, such as if they were exposed to Roundup longer or suffered from other damages.  Adjustments can also subtract points. Settlement funds are expected to start getting to the participants in Spring 2021, according to the lawyers involved. Reference:  “Monsanto Roundup & Dicamba Trial Tracker.” U.S. Right to Know, 2 June 2020, www.usrtk.org/monsanto-roundup-trial-tracker-index/

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Number of Roundup Cases and Settlements

November 9, 2020 — U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco is still in charge of almost 2,000 unresolved Roundup cases at this point in time.  According to Bayer, 1,861 out of the 3,787 of the plaintiffs have not settled.  Judge Chhabria paused the litigation and gave Bayer until November 2 to settle.  Because Judge Chhabria did not extend the stay, some cases could move toward trial.  Bayer has reportedly resolved around 88,500 out of approximately 125,000 filed and unfiled claims, saying that they are “fully committed” to settling litigation. Reference:  Stempel, Jonathan. “Bayer Makes ‘Substantial Progress’ in Roundup Cancer Lawsuits, Mediator Says.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 9 Nov. 2020, www.reuters.com/article/uk-bayer-roundup-idUKKBN27P2YJ

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Bayer Reserves $2 Billion For Future Roundup Cancer Claims

November 3, 2020 — Bayer has stated that it expects to pay $2 billion to resolve future claims that Roundup causes cancer.  Its initial estimate for this amount was $1.25 billion. Reference:  “Roundup Lawsuit: Roundup Lawyer: Roundup Lawsuit Settlements.” TorHoerman Law, Publisher Name TorHoerman Law Publisher Logo, 4 Nov. 2020, www.torhoermanlaw.com/personal_injury_lawsuit/toxic_tort_lawsuit/roundup-lawsuit/.

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California Supreme Court Will Not Review Johnson vs. Monsanto

October 22, 2020 — The California Supreme Court refused to review the Roundup trial entitled Johnson vs. Monsanto.  Bayer lost the trial to Dewayne “Lee” Johnson and his attorneys.  A unanimous jury found in August 2018 that Johnson’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was attributed to his use of Roundup. So far, Bayer has had three trials relating to the Roundup litigation and has lost all three.  Juries in the three trials have found that not only does Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weed killers cause cancer, but Monsanto spent years actively covering the risk. In Johnson vs. Monsanto, the jury found that Monsanto was liable for Johnson’s cancer and that Monsanto acted to blatantly hide the risks associated with Roundup.  The jury wanted Bayer to pay Johnson $250 million in punitive damages on top of $39 million in past and future compensatory damages.  After an appeal from Monsanto, the trial judge reduced the total of $289 million to $78 million.  An appeals court then further reduced the total to $20.5 million.  Though the appeals court found “abundant” evidence that glyphosate, together with the other ingredients in Roundup, caused Johnson’s cancer, the court made the decision to reduce the award by citing that Johnson was expected to live only a short time.  Even so, the appeals court stated that “there was overwhelming evidence that Johnson has suffered, and will continue to suffer for the rest of his life, significant pain and suffering.” Monsanto and Johnson both petitioned the California Supreme Court for review, but the Court denied the case.  Monsanto wished to overturn the trial judgment and Johnson wished for a restoration of a higher award. Reference:  “Monsanto Roundup & Dicamba Trial Tracker.” U.S. Right to Know, 2 June 2020, www.usrtk.org/monsanto-roundup-trial-tracker-index/.

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Roundup Settlements Progressing

September 24, 2020 — A hearing was held regarding the Roundup litigation on this date, and both lawyers for Bayer and for plaintiffs in the Roundup litigation have stated that progress is being made in settling the litigation.  Bayer lawyer William Hoffman informed U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria that the company is close to reaching deals and had already reached deals to resolve over 3,000 lawsuits in the Roundup MDL. Bayer has reportedly settled thousands of cases outside of the MDL, such as cases in state courts.  However, Bayer is facing allegations that it has backed away from agreements the company made months ago. Despite the allegations, both sides spoke positively in the hearing.  Hoffman stated that, “There are approximately 1,750 cases that are subject to agreements between the company and law firms and another approximately 1,850 to 1,900 cases that are in various stages of discussion right now.”  Plaintiffs’ lawyer Brent Wisner said it was important to note that there are a “handful of cases” in the MDL that have not settled yet.  On that matter, he said, “We anticipate they will be shortly.” Due to the progress reported at the hearing, Judge Chhabria said that he will continue a stay of the Roundup litigation until November 2.  After that date, his plan is to move cases to trial if they are not settled .Reference:  “Monsanto Roundup & Dicamba Trial Tracker.” U.S. Right to Know, 2 June 2020, www.usrtk.org/monsanto-roundup-trial-tracker-index/

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What Is the Average Wrongful Death Settlement?

Losing a loved one in an accident leaves their family and friends devastated. As they move through the stages of grief, they begin searching for answers and recognize the financial stresses associated with the loss of a loved one. Potential plaintiffs often ask what a wrongful death lawsuit average is when deciding if they want to pursue one. Unfortunately, there is no one average number. No two cases are exactly alike, so there is no way to compare cases to each other. The amount of compensation you can receive will depend on a number of factors. Understanding what a wrongful death claim requires and how damages are calculated can help the family decide how to proceed. What is a Wrongful Death Suit? Wrongful death is a civil claim brought by the deceased’s surviving family or personal representative against the negligent party. It is completely separate from a criminal charge, with a different burden of proof. Every state defines wrongful death in their own way, but there are common elements: Duty of Care. The plaintiff must show that the defendant had a responsibility to avoid behaviors that could cause foreseeable harm to the plaintiff (the deceased);  Breach of Duty. The plaintiff must show that the defendant violated their duty of care; Causation. The defendant’s violation/breach caused the person’s death; and Damages. The deceased and their family suffered injury or damage as a result. In these situations, the family has the option to file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek compensation. What Damages Are Available in a Wrongful Death Case? A wrongful death claim covers those losses experienced by the next of kin after the deceased’s death. These can include: Loss of future inheritance, Loss of parental guidance (if they had minor children), Loss of spousal companionship (also called consortium), Loss of the decedent’s benefits such as retirement, and Loss of the decedent’s future income. Depending on your state, you may also be able to pursue a claim for losses suffered by the deceased prior to their death, such as medical expenses and pain and suffering. Your attorney can help you understand the laws that apply to you. How Are Wrongful Death Damages Calculated? Because each case is so different, it’s hard to name a number, or even a range, for damages. However, there are several factors that may affect a settlement amount. Usually, the main consideration is the decedent’s status and circumstances at the time of death. Factors to consider include: Age of person at time of death; The deceased’s career, education, and earning capacity; Their state of health; Income at time of death; and The age and needs of the deceased’s legal dependents. The final amount of damages cannot be a guess. It must be supported by objective evidence, which can require expert witnesses. Because of this, it is so important to have a personal injury attorney on your side who knows how wrongful death cases work. If a case does reach a jury, the plaintiff can also ask for punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish a defendant whose conduct is considered grossly negligent or intentional. Some states put a cap (limit amount) on this category. In Indiana, punitive damages are capped at the greater of three times compensatory damages or $50,000, whichever is greater. Kentucky and Illinois do not limit punitive damages. Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim? Each state has its own laws stating who has standing to bring a wrongful death claim and who can collect damages. Usually, only immediate family members like spouses, children, and parents of unmarried children can recover damages in a wrongful death suit. Often, these individuals also have standing to bring the wrongful death suit. However, many states require a deceased’s personal representative (executor, executrix, or court appointed administrator) to bring suit on behalf of the family members. Is a Wrongful Death Settlement Taxable? The IRS considers any portion of a settlement or award that is “compensatory” as non-taxable. Compensatory damages are intended to repay someone for a loss that they have already sustained and are not considered “income” for tax purposes. If the case goes to trial and a jury awards punitive damage, the result may be different. It is possible that any punitive damages in a jury award or settlement may be taxed.  How a Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help You Navigating a wrongful death claim can be complicated and overwhelming. You may be grieving and wondering if a claim is in the family’s best interest. Sometimes insurance companies contact family members shortly after an accident and offer an amount that seems substantial. But in most cases, their offer will be significantly less than the family’s actual losses. A wrongful death claim will take an additional toll on everyone involved, so having an attorney is essential. First, they will be your advocate against the responsible party, insurance company, or opposing counsel. They know the law and how to navigate the legal system on your behalf. The loss of a loved one cannot be reclaimed through a personal injury action. But a claim can compensate a family for emotional and economic harms so that they can begin to move forward. An experienced lawyer can help you negotiate a settlement or represent you at trial if necessary. Suffering the Loss of a Loved One? Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. Did you lose a family member or loved one due to the negligent actions of another? The team at Gerling Law is incredibly sorry for your loss, and we want to help you if we can. Our attorneys are dedicated advocates who will fight hard to get you the compensation you deserve after such a tragedy. We have successfully represented clients in Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky in wrongful death suits and other personal injury matters for over 50 years. Call us at 866-651-2195 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free case consultation today!

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As Bayer Makes Agreements And Plans, Plaintiffs Express Dissatisfaction

September 14, 2020 — Bayer has made final settlement terms with three major law firms representing thousands of plaintiffs involved in the Roundup litigation.  All three firms filed notification of the terms with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, where the Roundup MDL is taking place, on September 14, 2020.  Making final settlement terms marks a crucial step in completing the Roundup mass tort litigation that has taken place for five years. Bayer has been challenged by trying to figure out how to manage Roundup claims that could arise in the future.  The company sought court approval for a plan that would delay the filing of Roundup cases for four years.  The plan also would have established a five-member “science panel” to determine if Roundup can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and if so, at what exposure levels.  If the science panel found that Roundup did not cause cancer, then future claims would be barred.  Bayer’s plan was rejected by U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria. Bayer said that it was making progress in making a “revised” plan also on September 14.  According to the company, the details of the revised plan will be finalized in the coming weeks. Numerous plaintiffs have not been satisfied with their settlements, disheartened that they will not receive a substantial award when compared to their expensive treatments and continued suffering that Roundup has caused.  Some plaintiffs have even died while waiting for a settlement, such as Marie Bernice Dinner.  Dinner died on June 2 from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that she and her husband, Bruce Dinner, alleged was the result of Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicides.  Lawyers for the Dinners filed notice with the court of Marie’s death on September 9, asking for the ability to amend their claims against Monsanto so that they could add a claim for wrongful death. Reference:  “Monsanto Roundup & Dicamba Trial Tracker.” U.S. Right to Know, 2 June 2020, www.usrtk.org/monsanto-roundup-trial-tracker-index/

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Appeals Court Denies Monsanto Bid for Roundup Case Rehearing

August 18, 2020 — Monsanto sought to reduce $4 million from the $20.5 owed to groundskeeper Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, but was rejected by the Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District of California.  The appeals court also rejected Monsanto’s request for a rehearing. In the court’s July ruling, it said that Johnson had presented “abundant” evidence that Monsanto’s herbicides cause cancer, including his own.  However, the appeals court did reduce Johnson’s award.  The jury that decided Johnson’s case ordered $289 million, which was reduced to $78 million by the trial judge.  The appeals court further reduced the award to $20.5 million, and Monsanto additionally owes $519,000 in costs.  Despite the multiple reductions, Monsanto still pushed for the award to be reduced to $16.5 million. Reference:  “Monsanto Roundup & Dicamba Trial Tracker.” U.S. Right to Know, 2 June 2020, www.usrtk.org/monsanto-roundup-trial-tracker-index/

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Allegations of Bayer Playing Dirty

August 2020–Plaintiffs’ attorney Aimee Wagstaff reported to Judge Chhabria that Bayer was backing away from the company’s tentative settlement agreements made in March.  The agreements were set for finalization in July.  Bayer stated in June that it had a $10 billion settlement with U.S. law firms which would resolve the majority of over 100,000 Roundup claims.  However, only two law firms leading the litigation had signed final agreements at that time. Reference:  “Monsanto Roundup & Dicamba Trial Tracker.” U.S. Right to Know, 2 June 2020, www.usrtk.org/monsanto-roundup-trial-tracker-index/

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Growing Roundup Lawsuits

August 2020 — There are more than 3,500 lawsuits in the Roundup MDL as of August 2020. Reference:  Moncivais, Katy. “Roundup Cancer Lawsuit: 2020 Updates & Settlements.” Consumer Safety, 8 Jan. 2021, www.consumersafety.org/product-lawsuits/roundup/

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