German drug company Bayer AG said on Thursday there were “bumps” in sealing its $11 billion settlement of thousands of U.S. lawsuits over its Roundup weed killer after a U.S. judge cast doubt on the progress of the agreement.
Bayer is battling a slew of lawsuits stemming from its $63 billion takeover of seed and chemical company Monsanto in 2018. The company unveiled the settlement in June, which paused the lawsuits while details of the agreement are hammered out.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria threatened to restart the litigation and let it move forward after questioning if Bayer was going back on the settlement, according to a Bloomberg News report.
“There are often some bumps in the road in implementing a resolution of this magnitude, but we remain confident that a comprehensive settlement will be finalized and executed,” said a statement from Bayer.
A lawyer for consumers said he was prepared to bring cases to trial.
“I agree that these Monsanto’s shenanigans need to stop. Either settle or don’t — at this point the only enemy is indecision,” Brent Wisner told Reuters.
Chhabria told the parties to continue to finalize the settlement and to confer about next steps should the litigation resume and scheduled a Sept. 24 hearing to discuss progress, according to a source who monitored the hearing.
Chhabria criticized the company’s description of the settlement in June and said on Thursday he was inclined to make public several confidential letters from consumer lawyers complaining that Bayer’s Monsanto unit is reneging on the deal, Bloomberg News said.
Bayer shares slumped after it closed the Monsanto deal in June 2018 as juries ruled against the company.
As of April, the company had been sued by 52,500 U.S. plaintiffs who blame glyphosate-based weed killers for their cancer.
(Reporting By Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru and Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Tom Brown)
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