Mediator Appointed for Monsanto Roundup MDL (Multi-District Litigation) – Here’s What You Should Know
A California federal judge has appointed high-profile mediator, Ken Feinberg, in the Multi-District Litigation against Monsanto over their Roundup weed-killer.
This decision comes in the midst of a heated battle between the chemical conglomerate and countless individuals who developed cancer after using the herbicide. The federal MDL currently involves 1,300 suits from individuals and families seeking justice against Monsanto and Bayer AG.
Coming on the heels of multiple historic victories against Monsanto, Ken Feinberg is tasked with mediating possible settlements and negotiating resolutions. Judge Vince Chhabria selected the veteran mediator based on this long and successful track record in high-profile cases.
Who is Ken Feinberg?
Ken Feinberg is a well-respected mediator and seasoned legal expert who has worked on some of the biggest civil cases in recent history.
He was appointed Special Master for the Sept. 11th Victims Compensation Fund, working pro bono. He also worked pro bono as the chief administrator for the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund which was established after the 2007 Virginia Tech Shootings.
His next high-profile case came in 2010 when he worked as a government-appointed mediator for the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Fund. Previously he also helped create a program to mediate insurance claims following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and other major storms in the Gulf of Mexico.
Other cases he’s worked on include the Aurora Victim Relief Fund, the One Fund Boston Victim Relief Fund, and he has mediated settlements for the General Motors ignition switch trial, Volkswagen’s diesel emission allegations, and more.
In a recent mediation between Fiat Chrysler and consumers, Feinberg was able to help the two parties reach a $307 million deal.
His experience working major cases goes on and on, making it clear that he is one of the biggest names in the field.
Not only does Feinberg have an impressive track record, but he also has a reputation for bringing people together. His ability to mediate volatile cases and reach a settlement has been praised by experts across the board.
As a highly respected legal professional, he is now tasked with leading the mediation process in the Roundup MDL. San Francisco US District Judge, Vince Chhabria, selected Feinberg as the mediator in late-May.
What is the Role of a Mediator?
With over 13,000 plaintiffs standing up against Roundup, Judge Vince Chhabria hired Feinberg to help mediate settlement negotiations. This role involves working with both parties to bridge the gap and work towards a compromise.
Feinberg has already overseen billions of dollars in settlement pay-outs, and will likely add several billion dollars more if he is able to achieve a settlement in the Roundup MDL.
But even with his impressive background, the Roundup MDL may just be one of Feinberg’s most challenging cases yet.
Despite mounting scientific evidence—and three back to back defeats in court—Bayer continues to stand behind Monsanto and insist that glyphosate (the main ingredient in Roundup) is not a carcinogen.
Miller Firm LLC has been honored to represent several victims of Roundup already, securing historic victories for these cases.
In the first jury trial against Monsanto, our lawyers were able to reach a $289 million verdict against the company due to their failure to warn consumers about the possible health risks of Roundup. This verdict was later appealed and reduced to $78 million.
Bayer continues to deny liability and refute jury decisions. While Bayer agreed to participate in mediation “in good faith” they seem resistant to any short-term settlements. As quoted by Bloomberg, Chris Lodger, a spokesman for Bayer, explains that they still plan on “defending the safety of glyphosate-based herbicides in court.”
Just last month, an Oakland, CA jury ruled in favor of Miller Firm LLC clients, Alva and Alberta Pilliod, awarding them over $2 billion in punitive damages after the couple was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This is the third victory against Roundup that Monsanto and Bayer plan to appeal.
Despite resistance from Bayer, Feinberg’s role requires him to sit down with the company and plaintiff lawyers to see what type of settlement could be added to the negotiation table.
How Will Ken Feinberg Influence Future Cases?
Judge Chhabria ordered the next federal Roundup trial to be scheduled for February. In addition, Chhabria wants 16-20 more cases that are currently pending to be prepared and ready to go to trial.
Feinberg will be there every step of the way, working with both plaintiff lawyers and Bayer to see if a settlement can be reached.
While Bayer seems resistant to any settlements in the short term, they could be more receptive as they continue to take a hit. Since Bayer purchased Monsanto in 2018, shares have fallen a drastic 40% and the company’s stock has lost billions of dollars in value. Further, the three cases that have gone to trial against Roundup all ended in historic victories for victims of the weed-killer, which have set major precedents for cases to come.
Some experts have speculated that Bayer will eventually settle, but the question is just how much will it cost them? Bloomberg’s litigations analysts calculated the settlement value for the Roundup MDL between $6-10 billion.
Whether Bayer will decide to settle, and for what amount, is yet to be determined. However, victims of Roundup can rest assured that Miller Firm LLC will only accept a settlement deal if it is in the interest of our clients. Feinberg’s role as a mediator will only add additional options to the table in terms of negotiation resolutions.
Do You Have a Claim?
If you or a loved one developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup, you may be entitled to legal compensation. Currently, there are 1,300 suits in the Multi-District Litigation against Roundup, with over 13,000 cases filed against the weed-killer across the country.
Miller Firm LLC is proud to be on the frontlines of the fight against Roundup. We have already secured historic verdicts for our clients, awarding them billions of dollars in punitive damages. While Bayer continues to deny any liability, more and more victims are coming forth to tell their stories.
Monsanto knew the risks, saw the evidence, and still failed to warn consumers about the possible dangers of Roundup. Contact our legal team today to learn more about the Roundup MDL and how you can file a claim.