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August 7, 2019

Roundup Case Deadlines Extended: Next Bellwether Trial to Start in 2020

The judge presiding over the Roundup weedkiller multidistrict litigation (MDL) recently decided to extend several Roundup case deadlines. This extension delays the start of the next federal bellwether trial to February 24, 2020. In a pretrial order released August 1, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria granted a joint request by the parties to push back several Roundup case deadlines, thereby extending the discovery process.

Currently, over 1,300 Roundup lawsuits pend in the federal court system, all centralized before Judge Chhabria in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Each of these cases raise similar allegations that exposure to Roundup weedkiller caused plaintiffs’ non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other serious cancers. Claims across the nation accuse Roundup manufacturers Bayer AG and its Monsanto subsidiary of failing to adequately warn consumers about the health dangers of glyphosate in Roundup.

The recent pretrial release impacted the discovery process for both “waves” of Roundup cases being prepared for remand. After a landmark $80 million Roundup verdict awarded by a jury in March, Judge Chhabria established a bellwether process for two separate “waves” of cases to be prepared for trial and remanded back to the states they were originally filed in. The remand will happen if parties fail to negotiate a settlement or resolution for the MDL.

Roundup Case Deadlines Impacted by Pretrial Order:

  • First Wave (claims originally filed in California and Nebraska districts)
    • Close of fact discovery - due September 20
      • Plaintiffs' expert reports - due October 4
      • Monsanto's expert reports - due October 25
    • Close of expert discovery - due November 20
      • Any potential Daubert hearing before remand - due January 29, 2020
  • Second Wave (claims originally filed in Illinois and North Carolina districts)
    • All fact discovery - due March 27, 2020
    • Close of expert discovery - due June 5, 2020
      • Any potential Daubert hearing before remand - due September 9, 2020

Additionally, the pretrial order impacted the date of the next federal bellwether trial, now set for February 24, 2020. The trial involves a Roundup weedkiller lawsuit filed by Elaine Stevick, a gardener diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup in her herb garden for an extended period.

To avoid the need for individual cases being remanded back into the courts they were originally filed in, Judge Chhabria ordered for parties to engage in a mediation process in order to reach a settlement or resolution to the litigation. Following huge verdicts awarded to plaintiffs so far, Bayer’s Monsanto faces additional pressure to negotiate a settlement for the Roundup weedkiller litigation.

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