The former Chairman and CEO of Monsanto has been ordered to testify next month when a Roundup cancer lawsuit goes to trial in St. Louis, Missouri.
Hugh Grant led Monsanto from 2003 until its sale to Bayer AG in June 2018. However, by that point, he had been with the company for 37 years.
Plaintiff Sharlean Gordon had subpoenaed Grant in connection with a Monsanto Roundup trial scheduled to begin in St. Louis Circuit Court on January 27, 2020. Gordon developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma following 25 years of regular Roundup use and claims that the glyphosate-based herbicide caused her cancer.
Grant had been fighting the subpoena, arguing he is not a scientist or regulatory expert and had already provided testimony during deposition. He also asserted that he would be out of the country starting February 9th.
In the end, however, the special master appointed to the case sided with Gordon, noting that during his tenure with Monsanto, Grant had given interviews representing Roundup as non-carcinogenic; called the classification of glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen “junk science”, and even lobbied the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in connection with the herbicide.
“Although Mr. Grant does not have scientific knowledge that doubtless will be a significant component to this lawsuit, he was CEO of Monsanto for 15 years and took part in presentations, discussions, interviews and other appearances for Monsanto as CEO in which the topics of Roundup and glyphosate were explained, discussed and defended,” the December 5th decision stated.
Bayer inherited the massive Roundup cancer litigation upon its acquisition of Monsanto. Approximately 43,000 cases alleging glyphosate caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and its various subtypes are now pending in state and federal courts around the United States. The first three Roundup lawsuit trials have already concluded in California, were every jury ruled against Bayer and awarded plaintiffs millions – and in one case billions – of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages.
While Bayer continues to deny that glyphosate causes cancer and is appealing the Roundup verdicts, the company is also participating in court-ordered mediation led by Ken Feinberg, the prominent attorney behind the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund and other high-profile legal settlements. The Roundup settlement talks are proceeding “slowly, but steadily”, according to Feinberg.
Two glyphosate cancer trials scheduled to begin next month in California state courts have been postponed to give the parties more time to focus on settlement discussions. However, several other Roundup lawsuits are set for trial next year in Missouri, Montana, Hawaii, Nebraska, Illinois, and North Carolina.