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Allegations raised in a product liability lawsuit filed earlier this month against Bayer and its Monsanto subsidiary mirror claims presented in tens of thousands of Roundup lawsuits being pursued nationwide, indicating that regular exposure to glyphosate and other chemicals in the controversial weedkiller caused a laborer to develop cancer.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Mauno Petajasoja in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, joining 2,500 other similar cases pending in the federal court system, and more than 40,000 claims filed in various state courts nationwide.
Petajasoja indicates that exposure to Roundup caused a non-Hodgkins lymphoma diagnosis in February 2018, due to his use of the herbicide on a weekly basis from about 2008 through 2014, while doing general up-keep for the North East Laborer’s Training Academy in Pomfret, Connecticut.
Although he followed all safety and precautionary warnings provided by the manufacturer, Petajosoja indicates he was exposed to a risk of unreasonable and dangerous side effects, which could have been avoided if accurate information had been provided to consumers.
“Plaintiff maintains that Roundup and/or glyphosate is defective, dangerous to human health, unfit and unsuitable to be marketed and sold in commerce and lacked proper warnings and directions as to the dangers associated with its use,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiff’s injuries, like those striking thousands of similarly situated victims across the country, were foreseeable and avoidable.”
While Bayer and its Monsanto subsidiary have continued to maintain that the widely used weedkiller is safe, it has not been successful convincing a jury in any of the early cases to go to trial, with three straight trials resulting in massive verdicts, including punitive damages designed to punish the manufacturer for withholding information about the link between Roundup and cancer.
Petajosoja’s claim will be consolidated with other lawsuits over Roundup filed throughout the federal court system, which are currently centralized in the Northern District of California, before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, who is preparing to send several large waves of cases back to different federal district courts for individual trial dates over the next year if the parties fail to negotiate a settlement or resolution for the litigation.
Monsanto and Bayer also face a number of state court trials early next year in Missouri, California and other states, each raising similar allegations to those presented by Petajosoja and other plaintiffs who have already successfully established at trial that the manufacturer should be held liable for failing to warn about the risks associated with Roundup.