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Monsanto faces a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the wife of a man who died from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after years of exposure to Roundup, alleging that the company failed to provide adequate warnings and instructions for users of the popular weedkiller.
The complaint (PDF) was filed last month by Jeanne Plagge in Delaware Superior Court, on behalf of herself and her late husband, Jerry Plagge, who died in April 2015.
Plagge was a farmer and the former Mayor of the city of Latimer, Iowa. He sprayed with Roundup from about 1974 until the time of his death, the lawsuit indicates.
The wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the popular herbicide is unreasonably dangerous and defective, because Monsanto failed to provide an adequate warnings about the risk of cancer, particularly non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Instead, Monsanto claimed Roundup exposure posed no human health risks.
“The defective condition of Roundup was due in part to the fact that it was not accompanied by proper warnings regarding its carcinogenic qualities and possible side effects, including, but not limited to, developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a result of exposure and use,” Plagge’s lawsuit states.
The case joins a growing number of similar Roundup lawsuits filed in recent months by individuals diagnosed with cancer following exposure to the herbicide while working as farmers, landscapers, groundskeepers, roadside crews or around their homes.
It was not until a month before Plagge’s death that the public was made aware of the potential cancer risks of Roundup.
In March 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) drew attention to the link between Roundup and non-Hodgkin lymphoma when it classifyied the herbicide glyphosate as a likely cancer-causing agent.
The Plagge’s case will be consolidated with the Roundup litigation pending in the federal court system, where cases filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide are centralized before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in the Northern District of California for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.
As part of the coordinated MDL proceedings, Judge Chhabria has indicated that the issue of causation will be decided by the end of this year, then it is expected that a small group of cases will be set for early trial dates to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the cases. However, if Roundup settlements or another resolution for the cases is not reached by Monsanto, each individual complaint may eventually be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for an individual trial date in the future.