CMBG3 Law previously reported on Monsanto’s success in the California federal court regarding providing a Prop 65 warning that its Roundup weed killer contains glysophate. The court ruled that requiring such a warning could lead to consumer confusion, as a consumer reading the warning could wrongly conclude that glysophate definitively causes cancer.

Now, however, Monsanto begins the first personal injury trial in California in which it is alleged that glyosphate in its Roundup weed killer caused a plaintiff’s terminal non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In this seminal case, plaintiff Dewayne Johnson, age 46, alleges that his cancer was caused by mixing and spraying hundreds of gallons of Roundup as the groundskeeper for a school district in California. Johnson was diagnosed with cancer in 2014. His case was expedited for trial, as his doctors confirmed that he does not have long to live.

At issue in this case is whether glyosphate is capable of causing cancer. In March 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said the key ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” “For the herbicide glyphosate, there was limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma,” the report states. “The evidence in humans is from studies of exposures, mostly agricultural, in the USA, Canada, and Sweden published since 2001. In addition, there is convincing evidence that glyphosate also can cause cancer in laboratory animals.”

However, Monsanto will point to the fact that over 800 scientific studies have concluded just the opposite. In addition, the EPA, the National Institute of Health, and other agencies around the world have reached the opposite conclusion of IARC. 

Regardless of the outcome of this trial, the case promises to be a bellwether case, as there are hundreds of other cases making the same allegations in various state and federal courts. The evidence that is brought out at trial and the jury verdict will factor heavily into how quickly the glysophate litigation takes off nationally.  

CMBG3 Law LLC has represented clients in products liability matters, especially with respect to allegedly toxic chemicals. We provide the most current legal advice to our clients by staying on top of developments in science, medicine, and regulations regarding a wide variety of substances and products used by consumers every day. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact John Gardella (email him or 617-279-8225).