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Decades of Using Roundup Led To Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma Diagnosis, Lawsuit Alleges

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An Illinois woman indicates that after years of Roundup exposure, she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma due to side effects of glyphosate and other ingredients contained in the controversial weedkiller. 

The complaint (PDF) was filed this month by Patricia Lashock in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, indicating that Monsanto Company failed to adequately warn consumers about the dangers of using Roundup.

Lashock regularly purchased and used Roundup and other Monsanto glyphosate-based herbicides from about 1977 through 2010, when she indicates that she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

“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,” her lawsuit states. “Plaintiff’s injuries, like those striking thousands of similarly situated victims across the country, were avoidable.”

Concerns about the link between Roundup and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma first arose in 2015, when the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate contained in Roundup 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, and resulted in hundreds of similar Roundup lawsuits filed in courts nationwide.

As part of the on-going litigation, internal Monsanto documents produced during the discovery process have suggested that the manufacture knew about the cancer risks associated with the Roundup active ingredients for years.

Lashock’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 cancer 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.

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Photo Courtesy of Mike Mozart via Flickr Creative Commons

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