Only 3 Roundup Cancer Cases Have Gone To Trial. Here’s A Closer Look At #4, Scheduled For Next Month…

Legal News

The Backstory: 

  • Three plaintiffs have successfully sued Monsanto, the maker of the glyphosate-based line of weed killer, Roundup.
  • The first plaintiff was awarded $289 million in damages; the second plaintiff $80 million and the third, a married couple, over $2 billion.
  • All three plaintiffs had their awards reduced but the verdicts against Monsanto were not overturned.
  • In June 2018, one month before the first Roundup trial started, Bayer AG finalized its acquisition of Monsanto for $63 billion.
  • Over 125,000 individuals have filed Roundup claims. Bayer has settled approximately 95,000 of those claims for roughly $11 billion.
  • Bayer proposed two different plans to put an end to future Roundup lawsuits for $2 billion. A federal judge has rejected both versions of Bayer’s proposal.
  • Plaintiffs who have sued Monsanto/Bayer allege that being exposed to Roundup herbicide caused them to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL).
  • In 2015, a cancer research unit of the World Health Organization (WHO) deemed glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, “a probable human carcinogen.” Roundup litigation started that same year.
  • Despite the designation by the WHO, no other agency, including the EPA and FDA have declared glyphosate carcinogenic; the Roundup brand is still widely available for purchase. 

The fourth Roundup suit to reach trial is scheduled for July 19 in a Superior Court in California. Plaintiff Donneta Stephens of Yucaipa, CA, was diagnosed with NHL four years ago, and alleges in her complaint that she used Roundup weed killer for over three decades. 

According to journalist, Carey Gillam, who has written extensively on Roundup litigation, Stephens was granted trial preference because of health complications, the result of which was allegedly caused by Roundup exposure. Stephens has undergone multiple rounds of chemotherapy since her diagnosis, and is reportedly suffering mental decline and is in a perpetual state of pain. 

Gillam says that other Roundup plaintiffs have been granted trial preference, including two children diagnosed with NHL. 

New Experts Expected To Testify

According to Gillam, Stephens v. Monsanto will feature many of the same expert witnesses and documentary evidence from the first three Roundup trials. Two new experts, however, are expected to testify: Barry Boyd, an oncologist from Yale Cancer Center, and Luoping Zhang, a toxicology professor at UC Berkeley.

Zhang was the lead author of a meta-analysis research study published in Mutation Research, which concluded that “human epidemiological studies suggest a compelling link between exposures to glyphosate and increased risk for NHL.” The study showed an over 40% risk of developing NHL for those that were repeatedly exposed to glyphosate. 

Roundup Plaintiffs Dying While Awaiting Their Day In Court

Despite Bayer settling nearly 100,000 claims, roughly 30,000 remain unresolved. Gillam reports that plaintiff Patricia Whitcher was granted trial preference in December but died the following month. 

The third Roundup suit to have gone to trial ended over two years ago. Stephens’ attorney, Fletch Trammell said, per Gillam’s reporting, that thus far, Monsanto has only offered to settle Stephens’ case–and other plaintiffs he’s representing–a “nuisance value” five-figure offer. 

The medical costs of treating aggressive NHL run in the tens of thousands of dollars—per year. 

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