MDL Sought for Roundup Lawsuits over Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma

As a growing number of Roundup lawsuits continue to be filed throughout the federal court system, each involving similar allegations that individuals developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma or other forms of cancer after exposure to the weedkiller, a number of plaintiffs have filed a request to centralize the litigation before one judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings.

Over the past year, complaints have been filed in various different U.S. District Courts nationwide, claiming that Monsanto knew or should have known about the link between Roundup and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, yet failed to provide proper warnings for users of the glyphosate-based weedkiller.

The lawsuits emerged after the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen in March 2015, sparking world-wide debate about the widespread use of Roundup.

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Last week, plaintiffs Edwin Hardeman and Emanuel Richard Giglio filed a motion to transfer (PDF) with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), asking to transfer all cases to one judge to reduce duplicate discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different courts and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

The motion indicates that there are currently at least 21 Roundup claims filed in 14 different U.S. District Courts. However, plaintiffs note that they are aware of at least 200 more plaintiffs who may soon file complaints. In addition, as Roundup injury lawyers continue to review and evaluate claims for individuals and families nationwide, it is expected that the size and scope of the litigation will continue to mount in the coming months and years.

“Transfer for centralization and coordination is appropriate because each of the related Actions and any tag-along cases arise out of the same or similar nucleus of operative facts, arise out of the same or similar alleged wrongful conduct, involve the resolution of the same or similar questions of fact and law, involve the same or similar scientific and/or medical evidence, and discovery will be substantially similar and involve many of the same documents and witnesses,” the motion states. “By way of example, Monsanto is currently producing the same initial set of regulatory documents in several different cases.”

Plaintiffs proposed that the Roundup litigation be centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, where at least three of the lawsuits are pending. In addition, the manufacturer notes that Illinois was the largest producer of soybeans and the second largest producer of corn in the United States, the two crops most commonly sprayed with Roundup.

Within days of the motion, several additional plaintiffs filed responses supporting the establishment of a Roundup MDL, or multidistrict litigation. However, a response (PDF) filed by one group seeks to have the cases centralized in the Central District of California, while another group of plaintiffs filed a response (PDF) calling for the MDL to be established in Hawaii, where a number of the earliest cases were filed.

The U.S. JPML is likely to consider oral arguments for the motion during an upcoming hearing session in Washington, D.C. on September 29, or in Charlotte, NC on December 1.

If the cases are consolidated before one judge for coordinated management, it is likely that a small group of cases may be prepared for early “bellwether” trials to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation. However, if Roundup settlements are not reached following common discovery and bellwether trials, each individual complaint centralized in the MDL may ultimately be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for an individual trial in the future.

1 Comments

  • Mary LouAugust 2, 2016 at 10:46 am

    The FDA has known about this, yet, it continues to be sold. This is the tip of the iceberg. Bees and butterflies are dying too. GMOs will be next Monsanto and your corrupt politicians.

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