Follicular Lymphoma Death Caused By Exposure to Roundup, Lawsuit Alleges

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The wife of a man who died earlier this month of follicular lymphoma, has filed a lawsuit against Monsanto alleging that the form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma was caused by decades of exposure to Roundup

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Maryanne T. Hosenfeld in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona on July 16, alleging that if Monsanto had adequately warned about the risks associated with their glyphosate-based weedkiller, it may have prevented the death of her husband, Marvin T. Hosenfeld, on July 5.

Hosenfeld indicates that her husband used Roundup weed killer on his properties in Arizona, Massachusetts, Michigan and New Hampshire for 41 years. He was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma in March 2015, which is a sub-type of non-Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL) and one of the types recent reports suggest may be linked to glyphosate contained in Roundup and other similar weedkillers.

Follicular lymphoma accounts for about 20% of all non-Hodgkins’ lymphoma diagnoses, and is a slow growing tumor that, if left untreated, can transform and become far more aggressive.

“At the time of manufacture, [Monsanto] could have provided warnings or instructions regarding the full and complete risks of Roundup and glyphosate-containing products because it knew or should have known of the unreasonable risk of harm associated with theuse of and/or exposure to these products,” according to the complaint. “Had Defendant provided adequate warnings and instructions and properly disclosed and disseminated the risks associated with its Roundup products, Marvin Hosenfeld could have avoided the risk of developing injuries as alleged herein and Marvin Hosenfeld could have obtained alternative herbicides.”

The case joints a thousands of similar Roundup lawsuits that have been filed against Monsanto nationwide in recent years.

The litigation has emerged since the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) decided to classify glyphosate as a likely cancer-causing agent in mid-2015.

“During the entire time in which Mr. Hosenfeld was exposed to Roundup, he did not know that exposure to Roundup was injurious to his health or the health of others,” the lawsuit states. “Mr. Hosenfeld first learned that exposure to Roundup can cause NHL and other serious illnesses sometime after July 29, 2015, when IARC first published its evaluation of glyphosate.”

In the federal court system, all Roundup cases have been centralized as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL), which is pending before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in the Northern District of California for coordinated pretrial proceedings.

Judge Chhabria had 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.

Earlier this month he ruled that plaintiffs had enough evidence to proceed beyond the general causation phase.

If a Roundup settlement 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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