EPA, Justice Department File Brief Supporting Bayer in Weedkiller Court Fight

Wall Street Journal writers Jacob Bunge and Timothy Puko reported late last week that, “The Trump administration is backing Bayer AG in the German chemical maker’s high-stakes court fight over the world’s most widely used weedkiller.

The Environmental Protection Agency, working with the Justice Department, filed court papers Friday supporting Bayer’s argument that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the company’s Roundup herbicide, poses no cancer risk. The filing backs Bayer’s appeal in federal court of a $25 million verdict in the case of a California man who blamed Roundup for causing his non-Hodgkin lymphoma, one of tens of thousands of similar cases.

Lawyers for both government agencies argued the verdict should be overturned because it would have been illegal for Bayer to print cancer-risk warnings on Roundup labels. They said Congress granted the EPA the sole authority over safety labels on chemical products, and the agency wouldn’t have approved a cancer warning for Roundup.”

The Journal writers noted that, “While it isn’t the first time a regulator has weighed in on such a case, legal scholars said the filing would likely catch the appeals court’s attention. The federal government will often weigh in on cases when the interpretation of a federal statute is involved, they said.

Several Roundup trials have been postponed in recent months as Bayer and plaintiffs’ attorneys try to negotiate a settlement as part of a court-ordered mediation overseen by Ken Feinberg, who helped divvy up compensation to victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.”

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