Roundup Landscaping Lawsuit Filed Over Large B-Cell Lymphoma Diagnosis

A Texas landscaper indicates that she was diagnosed with large B-cell lymphoma from Roundup, alleging in a recently filed lawsuit that Monsanto failed to adequately warn consumers about the risks associated with exposure to glyphosate and other ingredients contained in the widely used weedkiller.

The complaint (PDF) was filed earlier this month in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, indicating that Jan Hiatt developed the form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma after mixing and spraying roundup for years, while landscaping her 2.5 acre property in Pecan Plantation, Granbury, Texas.

Hiatt indicates that she began using Roundup for landscaping in 2008, and continued to use the weedkiller until at last 2014. In 2016, she was diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, which is a type cancer that has been linked to glyphosate contained in the herbicide.

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The case raises allegations similar to those presented in thousands of Roundup lawsuits filed by individuals nationwide, which indicate that glyphosate contained in the weedkiller has caused users to develop various types of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Although plaintiffs claim that Monsanto knew or should have known about the risks associated with glyphosate for decades, the weedkiller was sold without adequate warnings and safety instructions for consumers.

“The original Roundup, containing the active ingredient glyphosate, was introduced in 1974. Today, glyphosate products are among the world’s most widely used herbicides,” the lawsuit notes. “For nearly 40 years, farmers across the globe have used Roundup, unaware of its carcinogenic properties.”

Hiatt’s case will be consolidated with other complaints filed in the federal court system, which are centralized as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in the Northern District of California.

Given similar questions of fact and law, pretrial proceedings have been consolidated before Judge Chhabria for coordinated discovery and a series of early “bellwether” trials, which are designed to gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation. A number of cases originally filed in California are set to go before juries starting in February 2019.

In late August, a California state court jury heard evidence in the first case in the nation to reach trial, involving claims brought by DeWayne Johnson, a former school groundskeeper who was given an early trial date because he is dying from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After considering evidence in that case, the jury found that Monsanto should be harshly punished for failing to warn Johnson and other consumers about the Roundup weedkiller risks, awarding $289 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

While the verdict was subsequently reduced to $78 million by the trial judge, it may provide signals about the substantial liability Monsanto may face if it fails to reach Roundup settlements or otherwise resolve the litigation.

In addition to the federal trials, a number of additional state court cases are set to go before juries in 2019, including individual cases scheduled to begin in Missouri in February, April, June and September, and a multi-plaintiff trial involving 15 different individuals diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma from Roundup, which is set to go before a jury in October 2019.

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