Dusseldorf Bayer has to go to court in the US for a Monsanto product. A Missouri court has ordered Bayer and BASF to pay a plaintiff farmer a total of $ 265 million for the weed remedy Dicamba that has destroyed his fruit crop. The product is said to have blown over from a neighboring cotton field.
The verdict comes at a time when Bayer is already struggling with billions of dollars in claims for Roundup, which contains glyphosate. Both Dicamba and Roundup ended up with Bayer through the takeover of Monsanto. With this, the Leverkusen company has also taken over the lawsuits.
Dicamba is a weed that destroys everything except certain genetically modified plants that are resistant to Dicamba. The product is particularly popular when growing cotton and soybeans. Dicamba is one of the most common weed killers in American agriculture, but by no means as large in volume as glyphosate. Bayer and BASF as well as the agricultural group Corteva sell the product in the USA. How much sales the companies make with Dicamba is not known. Dicamba only plays a small role in Germany.
The first lawsuits against Dicamba came in 2017 when the manufacturers launched a new variant with a significantly stronger effect on the market. In Missouri, Bayer and BASF have been fined $ 15 million in damages. The $ 250 million is the so-called “punitive damages” – additional penalties that are intended to prevent companies from repeating their behavior. Bayer and BASF emphasize that the problems are due to the incorrect use of the farmers. “The evidence presented shows that Monsanto’s products were not responsible for the damage,” said a Bayer spokesman.
Monsanto showdown is approaching
The US environmental agency EPA had already reacted to the allegations in 2018. Although it did not ban the sale of Dicamba, it restricted its use. Only specially trained personnel are allowed to bring the product to the fields, and the farmers must keep a certain distance at the field edges.
Negotiations are now entering the final phase of the much more serious complaints about Roundup, the glyphosate agent. Corporate lawyers are honing the last details of an out-of-court settlement with thousands of plaintiffs who attribute their cancer to Roundup.
In the industry, Bayer is expected to come to a solution with the plaintiffs’ lawyers before the April general meeting. This may already be possible before the annual press conference at the end of February. A comparison sum of around ten billion dollars is in the room.
“Negotiations continue and I’m still cautiously optimistic,” chief mediator Ken Feinberg told Handelsblatt. The court appointed him to negotiate between the two sides. Bayer is primarily concerned with a solution that can avoid a new wave of lawsuits in the future.
More: The Bayer Group is researching new seeds and a glyphosate alternative. Bayer can use the potential income well for upcoming comparisons.