Monsanto Loses Bid to Trim Bellwether Roundup MDLS
Monsanto was dealt another blow in the courtroom after a judge ruled that federal laws aren’t preemptive of consumer claims.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria denied Monsanto’s bid for the court to rule that federal insecticide law preempts consumers’ claims that the company failed to warn of the herbicide is carcinogenic. The judge’s ruling addresses the claims in three bellwether claims are backed by believable evidence and not preempted by other laws.
In early January, Monsanto filed a motion for summary judgment containing several claims that Judge Chhabria shot down.
First, Monsanto claimed that the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act preempts lawsuit claims that the company did not have adequate safety warnings for Roundup. However, the judge noted that he already rejected a similar argument in 2016. His initial rejection stemmed from the FIFRA allowing some states latitude to make their own pesticide labeling rules. California is one of the states that uses its own labeling rules.
Second, the judge rejected Monsanto’s argument that state law and design defects label warnings are preempted by federal law. Monsanto claimed that it cannot change Roundup’s labeling without the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval.
In response, the judge said, “[i]f California can stop Monsanto from selling Roundup entirely, surely it can impose state-law duties that might require Monsanto to seek EPA approval before selling an altered version of Roundup in California.”
Judge Chhabria also denied Monsanto’s request for a judgment that consumers didn’t provide enough evidence to prove their claims. In addition, he noted that there is strong evidence that Monsanto doesn’t care about whether or not it is producing a cancer-causing product.
The First Bellwether Trial
Currently, Bayer/Monsanto is facing off against plaintiff Ed Hardeman in the first of three bellwether trials. Hardeman claims that Roundup caused his cancer after using the product for more than 25 years. Between 1986 and 2012, Hardeman sprayed Roundup on weeds and poison oak on his 56-acre property. As a result, he says that the mist from the spray frequently fell on his and face while using it.
On March 6, 2019, a pathologist testified that Roundup is the cause of Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
What are the claims in the Roundup MDLs?
There are currently more than 600 lawsuits pending against Monsanto. The lawsuits claim that the active ingredient in Roundup is the cause of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. There are several notable studies that have shown a link between glyphosate and cancer. Monsanto, however, does not include label warnings on Roundup.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer that starts in the lymphocytes. The cancer affects white blood cells that are fundamental to the importance of the immune system’s ability to fight infections.