Los Angeles, California – Dec. 22, 2016 – – Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman managing partner, Michael L. Baum, has been appointed to serve on the Executive Committee for the recently consolidated federal Monsanto Roundup lawsuits.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, who is presiding over the Roundup multidistrict litigation (MDL), appointed Mr. Baum and five other attorneys to the Executive Committee, which is charged with coordinating and overseeing the activities of the Monsanto Roundup MDL.
The cases against Monsanto were consolidated into an MDL to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from other courts around the country, and serve the parties involved in a convenient location.
In an MDL, where a large number of individuals sustain similar injuries after using the same product, it is common for a committee comprised of a small group of attorneys to conduct and coordinate discovery, argue motions before the Court and negotiate stipulations or settlements.
The six-attorney Executive Committee is a loss for Monsanto, which opposed the alliance. Other attorneys appointed to the Executive Committee include Robin Greenwald of Weitz & Luxenberg, PC; Michael Miller of The Miller Firm, LLC; Aimee Wagstaff of Andrus Wagstaff, PC; Hunter Lundy of Lundy Lundy Soileau & South; and Yvonne Flaherty of Lockridge Grindal Nauen.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be selected to serve in leadership on any MDL case, but this appointment is particularly special,” says Michael Baum. “I look forward to working together with this team of dedicated counsel to obtain justice on behalf of our clients.”
Roundup Cancer Lawsuits
Roundup is a glyphosate-based herbicide manufactured by Monsanto. Dozens of cases have been filed nationwide by farmers, agricultural workers, landscapers, gardeners, and others alleging that exposure to Roundup caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The lawsuits claim that Monsanto had known about the link between glyphosate and cancer since the 1980s, but failed to inform consumers about the danger. Instead, Monsanto marketed Roundup as being “safer than table salt” and “practically nontoxic.”
Claims against Monsanto were filed after the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) completed a comprehensive analysis on the toxicity of glyphosate last year, finding the key ingredient in Roundup to be a “probable human carcinogen.”
The IARC monograph on glyphosate sparked heated debate around the world concerning the widespread use of Roundup, and raised questions about why Monsanto failed to warn consumers about the links to cancer.
Monsanto tried and failed to get the cases dismissed, calling the IARC finding “junk science” and maintaining that Roundup is safe for use.
In October, all Roundup product liability cases were consolidated for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings before Judge Chhabria in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Judge Chhabria has previously stated that discovery proceedings for the Monsanto Roundup MDL will be bifurcated into two parts. In the first phase, which is scheduled to begin in early 2017, both parties will complete generic discovery and focus on general causation issues that apply to all claims. Both sides will be afforded the opportunity to argue any motions on the sufficiency of general causation evidence before moving on to case-specific discovery.
The first depositions in the Monsanto Roundup MDL are scheduled to begin on January 11, 2017. It is widely expected that Judge Chhabria will establish a bellwether trial program if Monsanto doesn’t settle or otherwise resolve the Roundup cancer litigation immediately following the causation phase. Bellwether trials are used in mass tort actions as test cases that the court and parties involved use to test their arguments and move the litigation toward a resolution.
Attorneys anticipate that hundreds, perhaps even thousands of individuals will file claims against Monsanto in the coming years, all making similar accusations that the agrochemical giant purposely withheld information about the cancer risks associated with Roundup exposure.
“This could very well be the next tobacco or asbestos,” says attorney R. Brent Wisner. “Over 70,000 people are diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma every year and the pervasive use of Roundup at home and at work might explain why that number continues to grow.”
Join the Monsanto Roundup MDL
More and more people who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma are hiring our firm to represent them in their Monsanto Roundup lawsuit. If you have been diagnosed with cancer after being exposed to Roundup, consider speaking with a Baum Hedlund attorney about your claim.
Our firm has successfully handled thousands of cases and secured over $1.5 billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients*. With decades of experience litigating against some of the biggest corporations in the world, Baum Hedlund has developed a reputation for holding Fortune 500 companies accountable, influencing public policy, improving product safety, and raising public awareness.