January 17, 2017
Contact: Robin McCall
Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman
12100 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 950
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Press Conference: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Re: Monsanto Prop 65 Lawsuit Hearing
Fresno, California—Prominent environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the law firm of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman will hold a press conference in Fresno, California on Jan. 27. They and their California Roundup cancer clients will be there in support of the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), which has been named in a lawsuit by agrochemical giant Monsanto over the state’s decision to list glyphosate as a Proposition 65 chemical known to cause cancer.
Arturo S. Rodriguez, president of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) will also speak at the press conference. As UFW’s second president, Mr. Rodriguez has brought meaningful change for farmworkers by advocating for improved health and safety conditions and fighting for protection from toxic pesticides.
WHEN: Friday, Jan. 27: The hearing of Monsanto v. OEHHA is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. PST. The press conference will take place outside the courthouse at Noon PST.
Please Note: The hearing of Monsanto v. OEHHA has been rescheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. PST.
WHERE: The press conference will be held in the courtyard between the B.F. Sisk Courthouse and the state building, which is between “O” and “P” streets.
B.F. Sisk Courthouse
1130 O St.
Fresno, California 93721
WHO: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Michael L. Baum, senior partner at Baum Hedlund and their clients will speak in support of the state of California’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Arturo S. Rodriguez, president of the UFW, will speak in support of protecting farmworkers from harmful herbicides and pesticides.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr’s reputation as a resolute defender of the environment stems from a litany of successful actions. Named one of Time magazine’s “Heroes for the Planet” for his success helping Riverkeeper lead the fight to restore the Hudson River, Mr. Kennedy has been a ceaseless advocate for environmental issues across the Americas and has worked on several political campaigns, including the presidential campaigns of Edward M. Kennedy in 1980, Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004.
Michael L. Baum is the senior managing partner at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman. Under his stewardship, the firm has successfully litigated thousands of wrongful death and personal injury cases involving major national pharmaceutical drug litigation, mass tort class action and whistleblower claims, and commercial transportation mass disasters.
Arturo S. Rodriguez is the president of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW). In 1983, Mr. Rodriguez took over leading the UFW after the death of his mentor and UFW founder, Cesar Chavez. Continuing Chavez’s legacy, Mr. Rodriguez has continued to build the union by pushing historic legislation and ceaselessly advocating for farmworkers’ rights. He will speak alongside Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., whose father championed the work of Chavez and the Farm Worker Movement in the 1960s.
Several of Baum Hedlund’s and Mr. Kennedy’s California Roundup cancer clients will also be speaking at the press conference.
WHAT: The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), classified glyphosate, a key ingredient in Monsanto’s blockbuster herbicide, Roundup, as a “probable human carcinogen” in March of 2015. Read IARC’s entire monograph here.
On Sept. 4, 2015, California’s Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) issued a notice of intent to list glyphosate as a chemical known to the state to cause cancer in accordance with Prop 65.
In an effort to prevent glyphosate from being listed as a Prop 65 chemical, Monsanto filed a lawsuit against OEHHA on Jan. 21, 2016. Since the lawsuit was filed, a number of organizations have intervened in order to either 1) join Monsanto in their efforts to keep glyphosate off the Prop 65 list or 2) join California in support of listing glyphosate as a Prop 65 chemical.
The organizations that have intervened on behalf of the state of California in Monsanto v. OEHHA include:
- The Center for Food Safety
- Sierra Club
- Canadian Labor Congress
- Natural Resources Defense Council
- Environmental Law Foundation
The organizations that have intervened on behalf of Monsanto in Monsanto v. OEHHA include:
- California Citrus Mutual
- California Cotton Ginners & Growers Association
- California Grain and Feed Association
- Almond Alliance of California
- Western Plant Health Association
- Western Agricultural Processors Associations
OEHHA filed a motion to dismiss Monsanto’s lawsuit and the Jan. 27 hearing will give both sides of the issue a chance to make their arguments before the judge decides whether to dismiss the case or allow it to proceed.
Following the hearing, Mr. Kennedy will discuss the implications of Monsanto v. OEHHA as well as the ongoing litigation involving hundreds of farmers, agricultural workers, gardeners, and others who claim that exposure to Roundup caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
WHY: Allegations in Monsanto v. OEHHA
Monsanto’s lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the “Labor Code” listing mechanism that OEHHA uses when chemicals or substances are added to the state of California’s Prop 65 list. The listing mechanism directs OEHHA to add a chemical or substance to the Prop 65 list of known carcinogens if the chemical or substance meets certain classifications by the IARC.
In the lawsuit, Monsanto argues that the Labor Code listing mechanism is unconstitutional because the agency “cedes the basis of its regulatory authority to an unelected and non-transparent foreign body that is not under the oversight or control of any federal or state government entity.”
OEHHA opposes Monsanto’s effort to avoid having its top-selling herbicide, Roundup, subject to a listing of Roundup’s primary active ingredient, glyphosate, being added to the Prop 65 list of known carcinogens. OEHHA asserts in its motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (MJOP) that the agency’s listing mechanism “simply provides a way for OEHHA to make the most of scarce resources.” According to the motion, IARC’s scientific determinations are “the gold standard in carcinogen identification,” and are trusted and relied upon by state governments, the federal government and foreign governments alike.
About Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Baum Hedlund are co-counsel on the Monsanto Roundup litigation and are working together with many other environmental and plaintiff lawyers across the nation in representing individuals who claim that exposure to Roundup caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman has successfully handled thousands of cases and secured over $1.5 billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients. With decades of experience handling personal injury and wrongful death cases, the firm has developed a reputation for holding Fortune 500 companies accountable, influencing public policy, raising public awareness, and improving product safety.
- Séralini GMO / Roundup studies: Séralini and his team found that rats fed for two years with glyphosate-resistant maize (corn) manufactured by Monsanto developed more tumors and died earlier than did rats in the control group. Researchers also found that the rats developed tumors when Roundup was added to their drinking water. Other Séralini studies have found links between glyphosate and endocrine disruption, kidney disorders, and cell death, among others.
- Documentation of IARC correspondence with Monsanto and CropLife America (agrochemical industry lobbying firm), as well as internal IARC briefing on glyphosate review
- Hollingsworth, Monsanto’s legal team sends a letter demanding information from IARC Scientists
- Dr. Sergi calls Monsanto’s legal team letter “inappropriate,” “intimidating,” and “noxious.”