Monsanto’s Roundup Weed Killer is the most popular pesticide in the world. Millions of pounds of the pesticide are sprayed on crops, farms, and fields across the state of California every year. Research now suggests that glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Roundup, causes cancer. In fact, the World Health Organization has even classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Monsanto maintains that Roundup and glyphosate are perfectly safe. The FDA appears to agree. However, there has been a sharp rise in the number of cancer cases in areas where Roundup is heavily applied. Scientific studies also seem to suggest that exposure to glyphosate increases the risk of getting cancer.
Monsanto Named in Thousands of Product Liability Lawsuits
Who is correct? Monsanto and the FDA, or scientists and innocent bystanders who’ve been devastating with cancer diagnoses? Judges and juries are being asked to weigh in and decide. To date, more than 11,000 Roundup injury lawsuits are pending in state and federal courts across the country. Plaintiffs in the lawsuits argue that Monsanto not only produced an unreasonably dangerous product, but failed to warn consumers about health risks.
Companies that design, manufacture, and/or sell products are held to heightened standards of care under California’s product liability laws. A company can be held strictly liable for injuries that are caused by defects or hidden dangers in their products. If a company knows about a potential or verified risk associated with using its product, it has a duty to disclose that information to consumers. Failure to do this can also result in a company being held liable for injuries caused by its products.
Monsanto Accused of Suppressing, Manipulating Negative Studies
Monsanto has been accused of failing to warn consumers that exposure to glyphosate and Roundup may cause cancer. The company denies that its popular pesticide is dangerous. However, evidence reveals that Monsanto:
- May have known about the risks associated with glyphosate for decades; and
- Intentionally and fraudulently attempted to suppress that information to bolster sales.
The evidence includes internal Monsanto documents, including emails and text messages. If juries are persuaded and believe that Monsanto knew about the dangers of glyphosate and intentionally misled the public, they may be inclined to award punitive damages.
Second Roundup Trial Begins
In 2018, a California man was awarded $289 million in the first Monsanto Roundup trial. A San Francisco jury found that exposure to Roundup was a contributing factor to the man’s terminal cancer diagnosis. Even though a judge later reduced the award, it is still considered a major blow for the major corporation.
Now Monsanto is defending itself in the second Roundup injury lawsuit to go to trial. This cases also involves a California man who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma after being exposed to Roundup.
This Roundup trial will unfold in two phases. First, jurors will be asked to determine whether or not glyphosate causes cancer. They’ll consider scientific evidence and testimony, as well as evidence of Monsanto’s alleged deception. Second, if the jury concludes that glyphosate causes cancer, they’ll turn to the issue of Monsanto’s liability.
The number of Roundup injury lawsuits filed continues to rise every day. If Monsanto continues to lose at trial, they may consider settling other lawsuits privately.