Bayer AG is facing yet another Monsanto Roundup lawsuit, this time in Australia.
Michael Ogalirolo used glyphosate for nearly 20 years, first while operating a Jim’s Mowing franchise and later after opening his own landscaping business. He received his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis in 2011 and retired in 2015 due to his poor health.
In blaming glyphosate, Ogalirolo asserts that Monsanto Roundup products are dangerous for human health and lack proper safety warnings or instructions.
“The defendant knew or ought to have known that the use of Roundup products were dangerous for the plaintiff … in particular causing DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells, cancer, kidney disease, infertility and nerve damage among other devastating illnesses,” his complaint states.
Although his lymphoma is now in remission, Ogalirolo told the Sydney Morning Herald that the disease continues to cast a shadow over his life.
“I don’t know what’s around the next corner,” he said. “I live for my four children and my grandkids and it’s the uncertainty that is the hardest part. The doctors have admitted they don’t know what happens next.”
Ogalirolo is the first Australian plaintiff to ever file a Monsanto Roundup lawsuit.
Bayer AG acquired Monsanto last June for $63 million.
The German company is currently defending more than 14,000 Roundup cancer lawsuits pending in courts throughout the United States. Similar claims have also been filed in Canada.
The most recent Monsanto Roundup trial concluded last month, when a California jury awarded $2 billion to an elderly couple with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The first two trials also resulted in plaintiffs’ verdicts, with the jury awards totaling around $158 million.
Since acquiring Monsanto, Bayer’s share price has dropped more than 40% and its market capitalization has actually fallen below the price it paid for the Missouri-based agribusiness.
While the company has promised to continue defending the lawsuits, a federal judge in California recently ordered Bayer to mediate with plaintiffs. Kenneth Feinberg, the prominent attorney behind the 911 Victims’ Compensation Fund, Deepwater Horizon settlement, and other high-profile negotiations, will lead the discussions.
Although there’s no guarantee that the talks will end with a global settlement, some legal experts have suggested that the negations could allow Bayer to resolve the Monsanto Roundup litigation without attracting the negative publicity that has accompanied the recent verdicts.