So implies Monsanto in the ongoing In RE Roundup litigation venued before Judge Chhabria in San Francisco, as well as a state-court consolidated filings in St. Louis, Missouri.
To date, only one case has been tried and the case resulted in a $289 million verdict, which included a large punitive damages award for what the jury believed to be Monsanto’s punitive conduct regarding their knowledge of the carcinogenic potential when exposed to their Roundup weed killer. The verdict was later reduced to just more than $70 million. See more here.
The next trial is around the corner set for March of 2019. This trial, like the first, has been expedited (available under California law if one can show they have less than six months to live).
Front and center in the litigation is whether Roundup causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Plaintiff’s experts point to, among other things, a 35-year old mouse study that was undertaken by Monsanto in 1983 for regulators. The study is titled “A Chronic Feeding Study of Glyphosate (Roundup Technical) in Mice.”
The study involved 100 mice who were exposed to either various levels of Roundup or none at all (the control group). Some mice exposed to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, developed tumors at statistically significant rates, with no tumors at all in non-dosed mice.
The Huffington Post reported that a February 1984 memo from Environmental Protection Agency toxicologist William Dykstra stated the findings definitively: “Review of the mouse oncogenicity study indicates that glyphosate is oncogenic, producing renal tubule adenomas, a rare tumor, in a dose-related manner.” Researchers found these increased incidences of the kidney tumors in mice exposed to glyphosate worrisome. Monsanto discounted the findings, arguing that the tumors were “unrelated to treatment” and showing false positives, and the company provided additional data to try and convince the EPA to discount the tumors. Read more here.
In 2015 the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared glyphosate a probable human carcinogen based on a review of scientific literature. California regulators would announce thereafter that they would add glyphosate to a list of known carcinogens.
Today there are over 9,000 lawsuits that have been filed alleging the development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the result of repeated exposure to Roundup.
And though Monsanto continues to downplay the relevance of the 1983 Mouse study, they no less tried to keep the study quiet in the underlying federal litigation before Judge Chhabria in California.
Judge Chhabria didn’t buy it, and ordered that the study would be fair game at the hearings on general causation. In his Order, he stated, “It is difficult to understand how Monsanto’s mouse study from 35 years ago could justifiably remain confidential in this litigation. At the hearings on general causation, the plaintiffs will be permitted to elicit testimony about the study without restriction. If Monsanto truly believes the study should only be admitted under seal, it can use its time during the hearings to explain why that’s the case.” Read the Order here.