Max Kennerly @MaxKennerly Trial lawyer by day. Cookie monster by night. Aug. 09, 2019 1 min read

Intriguing how Bayer's stock goes *up* by 11% in response to a report they've made an $8 billion settlement offer in RoundUp. No settlement has been reported--the market is apparently reacting to the new information that Bayer isn't mindlessly stubborn. /1  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bayer-glyphosate-lawsuit/bayer-soars-on-report-company-proposes-8-billion-roundup-settlement-idUSKCN1UZ0PT 

A lot of time, money, court resources, and anguish would be saved if corporations didn't reflexively "deny, delay, defend" every tort claim. The injuries themselves could be avoided if they took a proactive safety approach; the concerning RoundUp data first arose in the 1980s. /2

But we live in a world where management of corporations is typically driven by quarterly results, not long-term value. Hence doing nothing for 40 years, but now apparently leaking their own settlement offer to the press.

FWIW, I doubt the plaintiffs' lawyers leaked it. /3

If you're a plaintiffs' lawyer negotiating a mass tort, and the defendant makes a big offer, your incentives are *against* leaking it. Your incentive is to keep quiet so the defendant doesn't withdraw it, and perhaps invest more in your own advertising to get more cases. /4

On Bayer's side, they've lost $34 billion in market value since the verdict last August (which is, quite frankly, likely more than it'd cost to settle the whole thing), and so their incentive now is to goose their stock value by leaking news of an $8 billion offer. /5

On the whole, the "value" shareholders got from the company spending millions of dollars on lawyers fighting a war of attrition was to get their share price smacked down over the litigation risk. Maybe companies should rethink that default strategy. /end


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