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Following exposure to Roundup over a period of nearly 20 years, an Arizona property owner indicates that the controversial weedkiller resulted in his diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
David D. King filed a product liability complaint (PDF) against Monsanto Company in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Arizona on January 26, blaming the glyphosate-based weedkiller for his cancer.
According to the lawsuit, King used Roundup on his property in Arizona from around 1995 through 2013, indicating that Monsanto failed to warn him and other consumers about the potential non-Hodgkins lymphoma risk from Roundup, which has been linked to consistent and regular exposure to glyphosate.
“For nearly 40 years, farms across the world have used Roundup without knowing of the dangers its use poses. That is because when Monsanto first introduced Roundup, it touted glyphosate as a technological breakthrough: it could kill almost every weed without causing harm either to people or the environment,” the lawsuit notes. “Of course, history has shown that not to be true.”
The claim joins hundreds of similar Roundup lawsuits filed by individuals nationwide, each of which allege that exposure to the weed killer and it’s active ingredient, glyphosate, resulted in a diagnosis of non-Hodgkins lymphoma or another cancer.
Concerns about the link between Roundup and cancer first gained widespread recognition in 2015, when the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate contained in the weedkiller as a probable human carcinogen.
The move sparked world-wide concerns about why Monsanto failed to provide warnings and recommend safety precautions for users of Roundup.
As part of the on-going litigation against Monsanto, internal documents produced during the discovery process have suggested that the manufacturer knew about the cancer risks associated with the Roundup active ingredients for years.
King’s claim will be consolidated with other cases pending in the federal court system, which are centralized as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) pending before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in the Northern District of California. The litigation has been consolidated for pretrial proceedings to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, prevent conflicting rulings from different Courts and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the judicial system.
As part of the coordinated MDL proceedings, Judge Chhabria has previously determined that the Roundup litigation will be bifurcated, first addressing general causation about the link between the widely used weedkiller and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, as well as other forms of cancer, before addressing case-specific issues about whether Roundup caused cancer for each individual plaintiff.
Following resolution of any motions to dismiss based on general causation, if a Roundup lawsuit settlements or another resolution for the litigation is not reached during the first phase of discovery, it is expected that Judge Chhabria will establish a bellwether process, where a small group of cases will be prepared for early trial dates to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the lawsuits.