What is Glyphosate?
Monsanto earns more than $4.8 billion in profit each year by selling Roundup. With over 250 million pounds being sprayed yearly in farms, gardens, parks, and lawns, the glyphosate-based herbicide is the most widely-used weed killer around the world. Monsanto’s product owes its effectiveness to the action of one substance, glyphosate, which has the power destroys some enzymes that are critical to the plant’s health.
The large corporation even engineered several plants which are resistant to the action of this substance. This way they can sell these genetically-modified seeds to farmers who can now use Roundup on their crops with no risk of damaging them.
Why Is Roundup Dangerous?
Over the course of the last decade, several studies showed that if a human is repeatedly exposed to glyphosate for a long time (such as if he or she uses it daily for work purposes), there’s a high risk of suffering from cancer. In particular, victims have been found to develop later in life a potentially deadly type of leukemia known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In particular, Monsanto failed to warn about this alleged danger all those who are use Roundup for professional reasons, such as gardeners, farmers, park employees, agricultural laborers, landscapers and even people who love gardening.
According to the claims filed in court, the public has never been properly informed of these serious health risks since Monsanto actively concealed them. Those who had the chance to safeguard themselves by wearing adequate protections never did so since they have been misled into thinking that the herbicide was a safe chemical that caused no harm.
Has Monsanto Actively Tried to Hide the Truth?
Whenever a company manufactures or distributes a product which is inherently dangerous for humans or other living creatures, it has the duty of warning the public about these dangers. A manufacturer is precisely responsible for protecting anyone who uses that product, and if it fails to do so, it may be held responsible. Even more so when the company is aware of any possible risk and voluntarily chooses to withhold the truth in order to inflate its profits. Monsanto willfully tried to conceal the results of several studies that proved the severe toxicity of glyphosate was, and should, therefore, pay for any damage it caused.
On March 14, 2017, a federal court in San Francisco acquired some documents that prove how the multination paid some ghostwriters to alter a research published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in order to prove that Roundup was safe. When California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) tried to add glyphosate the state’s list of known carcinogens, Monsanto tried to stop it actively. Despite the serious threat to public health, the corporation cared so much for it profits that went so far as to sue the governmental agency.
The JPML Centralizes the Roundup Multidistrict Litigation
After hundreds of lawsuits have been filed, in October 2016, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) decided to centralize them in the Northern District of California in the Multidistrict LitigationMDL No. 2741. Cases that include similar allegations against the defendant (Monsanto) are usually consolidated into an MDL to save time and resources and simplify the legal process. A set number of plaintiffs known as “bellwether cases” will be selected to be heard as exemplary cases. In this specific situation, the lawyers who filed a lawsuit on behalf of their clients are accusing Monsanto of conspiracy, false advertisement, and failure to warn about Roundup’s dangers. The Roundup MDL is overseen by Honorable Judge Vince Chhabria.
Roundup Lawsuits Updates
In August 2018, the litigation reached a turning point when Monsanto was hit by a $289 million verdict inSan Francisco. The corporation had its back against the wall when a jury found it liable for cancer suffered by plaintiff DeWayne Johnson. The 46-year-old school groundskeeper was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after he had been exposed to the herbicide for years during his work.
Ironically, during the trial, Judge Curtis Karnow had to issue an order to request the jurors to avoid using the scientific documentation on Roundup as the sole evidence. Knowing how Monsanto actively tried to deceive the scientific community by manipulating these documents, in fact, there’s a high risk that all the alleged evidence about glyphosate’s alleged safety may be false.
Johnson’s one is just the tip of the iceberg. At least another 4,000 cases have been filed in federal and state
courts across the country, and the battle for justice has just begun.
Roundup Lawsuit 2019 Update
On March 27, 2019, a U.S. jury awarded over $80 million to a California man who alleged that the weed killer Roundup was a “substantial factor” in his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The jury was persuaded by Edwin Hardeman’s argument that Roundup’s design was defective in that it lacked sufficient cancer warnings. The six-person jury awarded Hardeman over $5 million in compensation and $75 million in punitive damages.
Bayer, which had acquired Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup, last year, stated that they planned to appeal the decision.
In August 2018, another jury had awarded a man $289 million, which was later reduced to $78 million, in a Roundup case. Monsanto has appealed that decision.
However, Hardeman’s success is seen as more significant than the August 2018 award. This is because Hardeman’s case is considered a “bellwether” case, which can determine the likelihood of success in similar lawsuits. Experts believe that success in Hardeman’s case and two other “bellwether” cases would give plaintiffs’ attorneys strong bargaining positions in the hundreds of Roundup cases that have been filed against Monsanto.
Roundup Lawsuit 2023 Updates
November 10, 2023: Bayer maintains its stance against settling Roundup litigation cases, especially those involving glyphosate. This resolve was evident in a media call following their third-quarter financial results. Bayer’s Chief Financial Officer, Wolfgang Nickl, expressed reluctance to make substantial payments, citing limited free cash flow. This approach resembles avoiding an inevitable issue, much like ignoring parking tickets, suggesting future repercussions.
November 9, 2023: Monsanto is contesting a $175 million verdict from a Pennsylvania court, alleging jury coercion and error in excluding evidence from regulators on glyphosate’s safety. Bayer also requested Judge James C. Crumlish III’s recusal from new trial motions, a move more symbolic than practical.
November 8, 2023: A farmworker has settled her discrimination lawsuit against Monsanto. The lawsuit alleged that Monsanto refused to finalize a personal injury settlement due to her non-U.S. citizenship. Monsanto has now agreed to exclude immigration status from its settlement considerations.
November 7, 2023: Bayer won a legal battle when the Ninth Circuit ruled California’s mandate for glyphosate warning labels unconstitutional. The court deemed the requirement as compelled speech that’s not narrowly tailored to an important government interest. Judge Mary M. Schroeder dissented, arguing for the lower court to review the new warning’s sufficiency.
November 6, 2023: Philadelphia is hosting its second trial regarding Roundup’s alleged cancer risks, involving Nouryon Chemicals and Monsanto. The trial will explore whether chemicals supplied by Nouryon to Monsanto heightened Roundup’s carcinogenic potential.
November 4, 2023: Bayer, valued at $44 billion, faced two verdicts totaling over $500 million within five days. These outcomes, representing a small fraction of pending claims, significantly impact Bayer’s total value, suggesting the need for a revised litigation strategy.
November 2, 2023: Following substantial verdicts against Monsanto, plaintiffs’ attorneys are increasing pressure on Bayer to settle lawsuits or withdraw Roundup from the market. Bayer is reportedly considering bankruptcy, although this seems unlikely. A more reasonable course would be to settle cases and issue product warnings.
October 31, 2023: A jury awarded $332 million in the Dennis case against Bayer, including compensatory and punitive damages. This verdict, following two others, significantly changes the dynamics of the litigation, raising questions about Roundup’s future impact on Bayer.
October 30, 2023: A Philadelphia jury ordered Bayer to pay $175 million in punitive and actual damages in a case involving Ernie Caranci. This verdict, coupled with others, pressures Bayer to reevaluate its litigation strategy and make reasonable settlement offers.
October 28, 2023: Bayer faces increasing trials, with another one scheduled in Philadelphia. The company’s reserves for settlements might be insufficient at the current pace of verdicts.
October 27, 2023: A Philadelphia jury awarded a $175 million verdict in Ernest Caranci’s case against Monsanto’s Roundup. This verdict underscores the changing tide in Roundup litigation.
October 25, 2023: Bayer’s confidence in winning certain cases led to a recent $1.25 million verdict against Monsanto. This outcome encourages plaintiffs, especially with upcoming trials in Philadelphia and San Diego.
October 23, 2023: A new trial strategy focusing on Roundup as a cancer-causing agent, rather than just glyphosate, yielded a $1.25 million verdict for a plaintiff in St. Louis. This approach is gaining traction and may influence future trials and settlements.
October 12, 2023: A new trial in San Diego, along with ongoing cases in Missouri and Pennsylvania, is adopting a broader approach by focusing on Roundup as a carcinogen rather than just glyphosate.
October 11, 2023: A Pennsylvania trial against Monsanto is underway, with plaintiffs’ attorneys arguing that Roundup’s carcinogenic effects are not solely due to glyphosate. This marks a strategic shift in trial approach.
October 10, 2023: Plaintiffs’ attorneys in St. Louis introduced allegations that multiple ingredients in Roundup, not just glyphosate, are linked to cancer.
October 2, 2023: Australia is conducting a judge-only trial to determine if Roundup causes cancer. The outcome, although not directly impacting U.S. lawsuits, could influence global perceptions and regulations.
September 28, 2023: The McCostlin case was dismissed, marking Monsanto’s ninth consecutive win. However, the case was not considered strong, and the upcoming Philadelphia trials are expected to present a more significant challenge for Bayer.
September 22, 2023: Donna Farmer, a key figure at Monsanto, testified in the McCostlin case, admitting that independent researchers, not Monsanto, primarily conducted studies showing chromosomal harm from Roundup.
September 19, 2023: Richard DeGrandchamp, a toxicologist, testified in the latest St. Louis trial about studies linking Roundup to non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other harmful effects on DNA and cells.
September 18, 2023: Upcoming trials in St. Louis involve plaintiffs alleging that prolonged Roundup usage caused their non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
September 14, 2023: Philadelphia is preparing for a series of Roundup trials starting in October 2023, with more to follow until the end of 2024. This includes cases against Ernest Caranci, John Sosnoski, Joseph DiGiacomo, MaryAnn Sopko, Thomas Donohue, Richard DeAngelis, and Joseph DiNuzzo.
September 13, 2023: The McCostlin v. Monsanto trial began in Missouri, with the plaintiff alleging that long-term Roundup use caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
September 10, 2023: The Roundup MDL is proceeding, with an order issued for Wave 6B plaintiffs to submit expert reports by July 26, 2023.
August 17, 2023: A venue change was mandated for five out of six plaintiffs in St. Louis Roundup lawsuits, moving them to St. Louis County, a less plaintiff-friendly jurisdiction.
August 2, 2023: Bayer settled a New York lawsuit for $6.9 million, which alleged that the company misled consumers about Roundup’s environmental safety.
July 23, 2023: Monsanto seeks to exclude testimony from Dr. Ron Schiff, an expert witness for the plaintiffs, challenging the methodology linking Roundup to cancer.
June 30, 2023: Philadelphia, known for being fair to victims, is a key venue for upcoming Roundup trials this fall, with about 200 cases in the mini-MDL.
June 16, 2023: Bayer and Monsanto settled with New York for nearly $7 million over misleading advertising claims about Roundup’s environmental impact.
June 12, 2023: The Arkansas Supreme Court denied Monsanto’s petition to overturn a discovery order, requiring Werner Baumann, Bayer’s ex-CEO, to participate in a state court Roundup lawsuit.
May 24, 2023: Bayer won the Gordon trial, marking its seventh consecutive victory, despite the case’s weaknesses.
May 16, 2023: The U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene in a $39 million class settlement regarding Monsanto’s Roundup, upholding the decision to include a substantial cy pres award.
May 15, 2023: In the Gordon trial, the plaintiff testified about her use of Roundup and her cancer diagnosis. Monsanto questioned her about burning her medical records post-lawsuit filing.
May 11, 2023: Bayer argued in Missouri’s Supreme Court to shift a consolidated case of Roundup users from St. Louis City to St. Louis County, focusing on state venue laws.
May 10, 2023: The Gordon trial in St. Louis County is progressing, with the plaintiff still presenting her case.
May 1, 2023: The expected settlement amounts in Roundup lawsuits are decreasing as Bayer continues to strategically select cases for trial. A new trial in St. Louis County involving Sharlean Gordon’s claims against Roundup is underway.
March 17, 2023: Monsanto is seeking affirmation from the Eleventh Circuit to dismiss a lawsuit by John Carson Sr., who alleges soft-tissue cancer from Roundup use, arguing federal preemption by pesticide labeling law.
February 27, 2023: Expert witness Professor David Carpenter was reinstated at the State University of New York at Albany after Monsanto attempted to discredit him in Roundup lawsuits.
February 25, 2023: The Missouri Supreme Court halted a six-plaintiff Roundup trial in St. Louis, ruling that the case violated Missouri’s law against forum shopping.
February 3, 2023: A study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute presented evidence linking chronic glyphosate exposure to increased cancer risk.
February 1, 2023: The Griswold trial in St. Louis was postponed to March 6, 2023.
January 21, 2023: A lawsuit alleges discrimination against a non-U.S. citizen woman in a Roundup settlement, prompting a legal challenge against Bayer and her law firm.
January 18, 2023: The focus of Roundup litigation is shifting to state courts, although the federal MDL still has active cases.
January 11, 2023: The next Roundup cancer trial is scheduled for January 23, 2023, in St. Louis. Bayer has been opting for settlements in some cases to avoid trial.
January 1, 2023: Bayer remains hopeful for dismissals in Roundup lawsuits, relying on an en banc review by the 11th Circuit of a decision dismissing Bayer’s federal preemption argument.