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Decades of exposure to Roundup caused an Arizona man to develop chronic lymphocytic leukemia, according to a lawsuit that alleges Monsanto failed to adequately warn about the cancer risks associated with the widely used weedkiller, and its active ingredient glyphosate.
The complaint (PDF) was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona on June, indicating that Albert James Palmer developed the ailment after using Roundup for nearly a quarter century.
Palmer maintains that he had no way of knowing that he was placing himself at risk by spraying Roundup on his property for at least 24 years, until an international group of experts declared glyphosate contained in Roundup is a probably human cancer-causing agent in mid-2015.
The lawsuit claims that Monsanto purposefully deceived the public about the potential Roundup cancer risks for decades, and continues to attempt to do so by failing to warn of the risk of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and other forms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma associated with the herbicide.
“For nearly 40 years, farms across the world have used Roundup without knowing of the dangers its use poses,” the lawsuit states. “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. Of course, history has shown that not to be true.”
Palmer presents claims for defective design, failure to warn, negligence, breach of warranty, and violation of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act. He is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages.
Palmer’s claim joins thousands of other Roundup lawsuits being pursued against Monsanto by individuals nationwide.
In the federal court system, all 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 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 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.