Roundup, the most popular herbicide in the world, manufactured by Monsanto, has constantly been in the news regarding its safety ever since research studies linked it to cancer. The latest development propelled by Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has resulted in the addition of Glyphosate, a key ingredient of Roundup, to California’s list of chemicals that can cause cancer, effective July 7, 2017. OEHHA made this move as per a California law: Proposition 65, which requires all carcinogenic chemicals to be listed; this law further requires warnings highlighting the fact that significant exposure to these chemicals can cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.
The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research (IARC) also called it “probably carcinogenic” in a 2015 ruling. It threw light on the association between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) which is a type of blood cancer.
In 2015, Monsanto made almost $4.76 billion in sales and $1.9 billion in gross profits from herbicide products, mostly Roundup. However, in January 2016, the agricultural productivity segment that includes Roundup fell 34 % to $820 million leading to a more than 2% drop in the value of the company’s shares.
In the Second Quarter of Monsanto’s 2017 fiscal year, the net sales in the Agricultural Productivity segment increased by $173 million compared to fiscal 2016, owing mainly to the increased volume of Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides globally. This increase reflected a slightly higher gross profit of $5 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2017 compared to the second quarter of fiscal 2016.
There is also news of a possible $66 billion acquisition by Bayer, a giant German drugs and chemicals company. The deal is expected to close by the end of 2017.
Allegations and Lawsuits
In addition to the possible linkage to cancer, Monsanto faces allegations of hiding known facts about the risks associated with glyphosate exposure to human health, failure to update the labels, and misrepresentation of the health and environmental risks. With thousands of plaintiffs coming forward to be compensated for their injuries, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), consolidated the cases under MDL No. 2741: in re: Roundup Products Liability MDL, in the Northern District of California to be overseen by Honorable Judge Vince Chabria. Additional cases have been filed in state court in St. Louis, Missouri. Further there are numerous other pending federal lawsuits. A separate class action lawsuit was also filed against Monsanto in April 2015.
On June 18, 2018, the first trial in the Roundup litigation is expected to begin in the Superior Court for the County of San Francisco.
Law Firms Prepping for Litigation
The Roundup lawsuits have been filed by people who have been directly exposed to this product and include landscapers, agricultural workers, private homeowners, nursery employees, garden center employees, etc., who were harmed by the severe side-effects of this drug. People who lost their loved ones are also entitled to file lawsuits against the manufacturer. Like all other mass torts, this is also a challenging one, and law firms are getting geared up to fight for these plaintiffs.
The schedule of the MDL litigation is set: Close of Expert Discovery (9/22/2017), Defendant’s Summary Judgment and Daubert Motions (10/6/2017), Plaintiffs’ Cross Motions and opposition (10/27/2017), Live testimony from witnesses set (12/11/2017 through 12/14/2017), Summary Judgment and Daubert Hearing (12/15/2017).
Law firms across the country gathering information through discovery to prepare for trial. Establishing the eligibility factor would be the primary focus of the review team during this stage ascertaining whether the injured developed lymphatic cancer like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma within the last ten years because of exposure to the Roundup Weed Killer.
The Roundup – Cancer Linkage. Still a doubt
Though numerous lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer, blaming Roundup as the causative agent of their cancers, proof of causation will be a key factor in determining liability. Moreover, though being labeled as a probable carcinogenic agent by WHO’s IARC, it was concluded to be an unlikely cause to humans when consumed through diet.
For nearly forty years, Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer was sprayed on agricultural crops, lawns, golf courses, commercial nurseries, driveways, and sidewalks across the country; for nearly forty years farmers used it believing it was safe and were themselves diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or other cancers. Though Monsanto is facing several lawsuits, it continues to challenge them, claiming the safety of their product.
If you feel that you may have a potential case against Roundup, call our attorneys for a free consultation.