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John Reitman

By John Reitman

11th Circuit agrees to revisit Bayer decision

A federal appeals court has agreed to review a three-judge panel ruling, reopening a lawsuit claiming that the weedkiller Roundup caused a Georgia man's cancer.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta said its entire panel of judges will grant the company’s rehearing petition, vacating its Oct. 28 decision.

030222bayer.jpgAt issue is whether federal pesticide law trumps state failure-to-warn claims, a decision supported the Oct. 28 decision in a claim by John Carson that Roundup caused his cancer. 

Bayer's legal team called the decision by the 11th Circuit one of the most important developments in seven years of lawsuits over Roundup.

Last year, a three-judge panel from the 11th Circuit rejected Bayer's argument that federal law shielded it from state law claims like the one brought by Carson, who claims he was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 after using Roundup for 30 years

Carson's attorneys argued there should be a cancer warning on the product label. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said there is not sufficient proof that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is a carcinogen.

If the full panel of judges from the 11th Circuit were to overturn the previous ruling, it could vacate the approximately 30,000 outstanding cases against Bayer, claiming that Roundup, with its active ingredient glyphosate, is a carcinogen. Such a decision also could create a circuit split, which would open the door for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit the case.

Claims against Monsanto and now Bayer stem from a 2015 ruling by the World Health Organization that glyphosate is likely carcinogenic, a claim the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has rejected.

Bayer announced in 2021 that it would discontinue sales of Roundup in the consumer marketplace by next year, when it will be replaced by products with a different active ingredient. Roundup will remain available in the professional segment.

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