FRANKFURT: Bayer said on Friday it would comply with a U.S. federal judge's order to enter mediation with a plaintiff who claims the company failed to warn against an alleged cancer risk from its Roundup weedkiller.
Bayer has seen billions wiped off its market value since August, when a first U.S. jury found Bayer liable because Monsanto, acquired by Bayer for US$63 billion last year, had not warned of the alleged risk from Roundup, which is based on active ingredient glyphosate.
It suffered a similar courtroom defeat last month and more than 10,000 cases are pending.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, who presided over the first two cases in federal court, said in a filing dated Thursday that Bayer and another plaintiff, Elaine Stevick, were ordered to start confidential mediation.
"The parties should propose a mediator in their case management statement; if they cannot agree, the Court will appoint someone," the judge ordered, cancelling a previously scheduled May 20 trial date.
Bayer said on Friday it would comply with the order in good faith, while believing strongly in the "extensive body of reliable science supporting the safety of Roundup".
"As this litigation is still in the early stages — with only two verdicts and no cases that have run their course through appeal — we will also remain focused on defending the safety of glyphosate-based herbicides in court," it said.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Edward Taylor)