Shareholder files suit against Bayer over “disastrous” Monsanto acquisition

A California shareholder of Bayer AG on Friday filed a lawsuit against the companies’ top executives claiming they breached their duty of “prudence” and “loyalty” to the company and investors by buying Monsanto Co. in 2018, an acquisition the suit claims has “inflicted billions of dollars of damages” on the company.

Plaintiff Rebecca R. Haussmann, trustee of the Konstantin S. Haussmann Trust, is the sole named plaintiff in the suit, which was filed in New York County Supreme Court.  The named defendants include Bayer CEO Werner Baumann, who orchestrated the $63 billion Monsanto purchase, and Bayer Chairman Werner Wenning, who announced last month he was stepping down from the company earlier than planned. The suit claims that Wenning’s decision came after Bayer improperly obtained a copy of the then-draft shareholder lawsuit “through corporate espionage.”

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Missouri Farmer Wins $265 Million Verdict Against Monsanto

A Missouri peach farmer notched a rare courtroom victory this month, defeating the former Monsanto Co. and chemical giant BASF in the first of what is expected to be a series of court fights over claims that the companies are responsible for pesticide damage that has wiped out orchards, gardens, and organic farm fields in multiple states.

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Science shouldn’t be for sale – we need reform to industry-funded studies to keep people safe

Not again. News out of Europe last week revealed that more than 20 scientific studies submitted to regulators to prove the safety of the popular weedkilling chemical glyphosate came from a large German laboratory that has been accused of fraud and other wrongdoing.

The findings come amid global debate over whether or not glyphosate causes cancer and other health problems and if regulators and chemical companies proclaiming the chemical’s safety actually have credible science on their side.

Amid a government investigation into the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology (LPT), investigators representing three European non-profit consumer advocacy groups are raising concerns about the validity of the glyphosate studies generated by the Hamburg facility. No significant concerns with glyphosate were found, according to the tests, three of which looked for glyphosate-related mutagenicity. Monsanto and other chemical companies needed those studies and others to submit to regulators in order to obtain re-approval to sell glyphosate herbicide products in Europe.

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It’s Farmer v. Monsanto in Court Fight Over Dicamba Herbicide

A showdown is underway in the Midwest as the owner of a large Missouri peach farm seeks to hold the former Monsanto Co. accountable for millions of dollars in damage to his crops—losses the farmer claims resulted from a corporate strategy to induce farmers to buy high-priced specialty seeds and chemicals.

The trial got underway on January 27 in US District Court in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Farmer Bill Bader, who has grown peaches in Missouri’s “Bootheel” region for 40 years, is seeking more than $20 million. The lawsuit alleges that Bader Farms lost more than 30,000 trees due to Monsanto’s actions, in collaboration with German chemical giant BASF, to profit from a new cropping system involving genetically engineered seeds designed to tolerate dousing of the herbicide dicamba.

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Formulations of glyphosate-based weedkillers are toxic, tests show

Tests by a US government agency on common weedkilling products made with the chemical glyphosate have found some formulations sold to the public to be genotoxic, meaning they are damaging to human DNA.

But the government scientists at the National Toxicology Program (NTP) say the danger probably lies with added ingredients in the products – not glyphosate.

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Stakes are high with two Roundup cancer trials starting amid settlement talks

t’s been nearly five years since international cancer scientists classified a popular weed-killing chemical as probably carcinogenic, news that triggered an explosion of lawsuits brought by cancer patients who blame the former chemical maker Monsanto Co. for their suffering.

Tens of thousands of U.S. plaintiffs – some lawyers involved in the litigation say over 100,000 – claim Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and other glyphosate-based weed killers caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, while Monsanto spent years hiding the risks from consumers.

The first three trials went badly for Monsanto and its German owner Bayer AG as outraged juries awarded over $2.3 billion in damages to four plaintiffs. Trial judges lowered the jury awards to a total of roughly $190 million, and all are under appeal.

Two new trials – one in California and one in Missouri – are now in the process of selecting juries. Opening statements are scheduled for Friday for the Missouri trial, which is taking place in St. Louis, Monsanto’s former home town. The judge in that case is allowing testimony to be televised and broadcast by Courtroom View Network.

Bayer has been desperate to avoid the spotlight of more trials and bring an end to the saga that has bludgeoned the pharmaceutical giant’s market capitalization, and exposed to the world Monsanto’s internal playbook for manipulating science, media and regulators.

It looks like that end could be coming soon.

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Anticipation Builds For Settlement of Roundup Cancer Claims

Anticipation is building around the belief that there could soon be an announcement of at least a partial settlement of U.S. lawsuits pitting thousands of U.S. cancer patients against Monsanto Co. over allegations the company hid the health risks of its Roundup herbicides.

Investors in Bayer AG, the German company that bought Monsanto in 2018,  are keeping a close eye on the status of three trials currently still on the docket to get underway this month. Six trials were initially set to take place in January, but three have recently been “postponed.” Sources say the postponements are part of the process of obtaining an overall settlement with several plaintiffs’ attorneys who have large numbers of cases pending.

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Why a corporate lawyer is sounding the alarm about these common chemicals

A conversation with the lawyer Rob Bilott is like a slap across the face. It doesn’t feel good. But it does get your attention.

According to Bilott, we face a “unique health threat” from a class of industrial chemicals that most Americans have never heard of. These chemicals are widely used in everyday products such as non-stick cookware and stain-resistant fabrics, even though science shows they are linked to a range of deadly diseases, reproductive problems and other ailments. Powerful corporations are fighting to protect the use of these profitable chemical compounds, Bilott says, and US regulators are doing next to nothing to stop them.

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“CONSUMER ADVOCACY” GROUP ACSH REVEALED AS FRONT GROUP FOR CORPORATE INTERESTS

It’s a name aimed at inspiring consumer confidence: The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) proclaims itself to be a pro-science, consumer advocacy nonprofit group that exists only to support legitimate science and medicine while debunking “health scares.”

The organization asserts on its website that it does not “represent any industry” and states that the work of ACSH columnists and the group’s panel of scientific advisors is simply to help consumers, journalists, and policymakers “see past scaremongers and activist groups” who wrongly raise concerns about genetically modified crops, pesticides, industrial chemicals, nuclear power, natural gas, and other issues.

But while the name carries with it the aura of an authentically independent voice on controversial questions of science and public health, internal ACSH records show in reality the organization has relied for years on hefty donations from corporations and foundations whose interests ACSH promotes.

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Revealed: Bayer AG discussed plans to give not-for-profit funding for influence

Emails between two senior executives and a journalist show discussions aimed at giving Bayer a voice in press foundation initiatives.

Bayer AG discussed plans to give the German drugs giant influence within prestigious American not-for-profit dedicated to media freedoms that would protect and promote the company’s business interests in exchange for generous funding, records obtained by the Guardian show.

Multiple email communications from 2018 and 2019 detail the entwinement of two senior executives at Bayer’s US operations with a Greek journalist and “communications strategist” named Thanos Dimadis who served briefly as executive director for the 101-year-old New York-based Foreign Press Association (FPA), and the related Foreign Press Foundation (FPF).

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