US Supreme Court denies Bayer appeal of weed killer cancer suit
© WikiMedia (Sebastian Rittau)
US Supreme Court denies Bayer appeal of weed killer cancer suit

The US Supreme Court Tuesday denied Bayer AG’s appeal of a $25 million judgment against it from the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Bayer’s appeal attempted to dismiss all legal claims from customers that contracted cancer from using Bayer’s weed killer Roundup, which contains glyphosate.

In 2019 Edwin Hardeman won $25 million for decades of exposure to Roundup weedkiller in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. Hardeman claimed that this exposure caused his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) delegates authority to the EPA to regulate the distribution, sale, and use of pesticides. Under this law, the EPA has found that a glyphosate cancer warning is unnecessary.

On appeal, Bayer argued that FIFRA preempts state-law failure-to-warn claims about carcinogens in products and that a warning cannot be added without EPA approval. Bayer also asserted that a warning would be “inappropriate” under FIFRA and that the Ninth Circuit’s standard for admitting expert testimony violated Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence.

The Ninth Circuit ruled that state-law claims are not preempted by FIFRA and upheld the expert testimony on causation. The Supreme Court denied Bayer’s petition for a writ of certiorari without comment.

Last Saturday, an Oregon jury found that Roundup herbicide did not cause a plaintiff’s cancer.