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Years of Roundup Exposure At Home And At Work Led To Lymphoma Diagnosis: Lawsuit

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A Nevada man indicates that following years of Roundup exposure around his own home and at his job, he received a non-Hodgkins lymphoma diagnosis, which could have been avoided if Monsanto had properly warned about the risks associated with their popular weedkiller. 

In a complaint (PDF) filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida on March 1, John Gibson alleges that Monsanto has provided false and misleading information for consumers about the links between Roundup and increased cancer risks.

Gibson, 52, states that he was exposed to Roundup while living and working in Florida. First, from 1998 through 2003, when he sprayed the weedkiller at least twice a year around his own property. He was also exposed from 2008 through 2013, when he sprayed Roundup on a weekly at his job.

When spraying at his home, Gibson indicates that used no protective gear, as Roundup’s warnings and instructions failed to warn about the need for such safety precautions, according to the lawsuit. At his job, Gibson states that he was provided no protection beyond a paper mask, again due to Monsanto’s failure to provide adequate warnings.

The lawsuit maintains that Gibson is just one of many consumers around the world unwittingly exposed to Roundup side effects, and raises concerns about how widespread that exposure is, given a 2015 conclusion by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that the active ingredient, glyphosate, is a probable carcinogen.

“Glyphosate was identified as the second-most used household herbicide in the United States for weed control between 2001 and 2007 and the most heavily used herbicide in the world in 2012,” the lawsuit states. “Exposure pathways are identified as air (especially during spraying), water, and food. Community exposure to glyphosate is widespread and found in soil, air, surface water, and groundwater, as well as in food.”

The claim joins hundreds of similar Roundup lawsuits filed by individuals nationwide, each involving similar allegations that users received a diagnosis of non-Hodgkins lymphoma following exposure to the weed killer and it’s active ingredient, glyphosate.

Gibson’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 lawsuit 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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