The massive litigation surrounding Monsanto Roundup shows no signs of slowing, as more and more plaintiffs throughout the United States continue to seek compensation for cancer allegedly caused by the glyphosate-based herbicide.
Merrill Hoge joined their ranks last month, more than a decade after the former NFL star and ESPN analyst was first diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
According to a complaint currently pending in the U.S. District Court, District of Iowa, Hoge has a long history working on farms. While doing so, he regularly mixed or used Roundup on a weekly, if not daily, basis.
“Listen, I’ve been using Roundup forever,” he recently told CBS News. “I didn’t wear gloves. We weren’t told to wear gloves or a mask.”
Hoge learned he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2003, and underwent a series of chemotherapy treatments. While the disease is currently in remission, the 54-year-old ex-Pittsburgh Steeler claims he “incurred significant economic and non-economic damages” due to his Roundup exposure.
“Well, the only thing I can tell you is that talking to doctors, that’s the first thing when I was doing my work on it,” he said. “They were like ‘Were you ever around pesticides or stuff with chemicals like Roundup?’ And I shared my farming story.”
Cancer survivors and their loved ones began filing Monsanto Roundup lawsuits shortly after the World Health Organization declared glyphosate a probable human carcinogen in March 2015. The declaration came after an independent review linked occupational exposure to an increased risk of cancer, especially non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and its various subtypes.
Bayer AG acquired Monsanto last year for $63 million. The German company is now defending around 18,400 Monsanto Roundup lawsuits in courts throughout the United States. Three cases have gone to trial since last August, and the company has yet to win a single verdict.
Bayer’s share price has declined by more than 40% since the Monsanto acquisition was completed, earning management a rare rebuke from investors last March.
While Bayer denies that glyphosate causes cancer, the company is participating in a court-ordered mediation effort aimed at resolving the costly and damaging litigation. Earlier this week, Bayer’s CEO indicated he was open to a Roundup lawsuit settlement, as long as any agreement is “financially reasonable.”