The litigation involving Monsanto Roundup has gone global, following the filing of a class action lawsuit in Quebec, Canada.
Like thousands of individual Roundup lawsuits pending in the United States, the complaint accuses Bayer AG of failing to warn consumers that exposure to glyphosate – the active ingredient in the widely-used herbicide – could increase the risk for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers.
Representative Plaintiff Liliane Paquette was diagnosed with stage-four chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, in 2005. Paquette, a diary farmer, claims that glyphosate contributed to her cancer.
“Although the Plaintiff did not apply Roundup to the fields (the plaintiff’s ex-boyfriend applied the Roundup), in her work on the farm, the plaintiff frequently handled Roundup and/or came into physical contact with crops that had been sprayed with Roundup,” the filing states.
“The plaintiff was also exposed to Roundup by living on the farm. The fields surrounding the farmhouse were sprayed with Roundup. When the windows of the farmhouse were open, the plaintiff would frequently breathe in Roundup.”
Paquette’s Monsanto Roundup lawsuit seeks $10 million in damages.
Monsanto developed glyphosate in the 1970s and it has since become the most popular weed killer in the world.
In March 2015, however, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared glyphosate a probable human carcinogen after a review linked occupational exposure to an increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and related cancers.
Since then, more than 14,000 Monsanto Roundup lawsuits have been filed in courts throughout the United States. Three cases have gone to trial since last August, with every jury finding for plaintiffs. The most recent trial concluded earlier this month, when a California jury awarded $2 billion to an elderly couple with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Bayer AG, which acquired Monsanto last year for $63 billion, maintains that glyphosate is safe and is appealing the verdicts. However, the massive litigation has taken a toll on the company’s share price, which has lost over 40% of its value since last June.
Although Bayer has vowed to continue fighting Monsanto Roundup lawsuits, the company is also complying with a federal judge’s order to enter into settlement negotiations with plaintiffs.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria of the Northern District of California tapped Ken Feinberg to lead those discussions. The prominent attorney has had tremendous success guiding other high-profile mediations to settlement, including those involving the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal, and the General Motors ignition switch litigation.