St. Louis, Missouri, March 20, 2017 – – The Los Angeles-based law firm of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman and co-counsel Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., filed three bundled complaints last week on behalf of 136 plaintiffs from across the country who allege exposure from Roundup weed killer caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
RKF, Jr., and Baum Hedlund attorneys Michael L. Baum, R. Brent Wisner, and Frances M. Phares filed the Monsanto Roundup cancer lawsuits in the 22nd Circuit Court, St. Louis City, Missouri. The complaints also include 94 cases filed by attorneys Nicholas Rockforte, Christopher L. Coffin, and Jonathan E. Chatwin of Pendley Baudin & Coffin, with offices in Plaquemine and New Orleans, Louisiana.
The cases are captioned:
- Salvaggio v. Monsanto Co. et al., case no 1722-CC00796
- Bates v. Monsanto Co. et al., case no 1722-CC00796
- Feranac v. Monsanto Co. et al., case no 1722-CC00799
The lawsuits seek compensatory and punitive damages for wrongful death and personal injuries against defendants Monsanto Co., Osborn & Barr Communications, Inc., and Osborn & Barr Holdings, Inc., all of which are based in St. Louis, Missouri.
The lawsuits contain six counts:
- Strict Liability – Design Defect (Against Monsanto)
- Strict Liability – Failure to Warn (Against Monsanto)
- Negligence (Against Monsanto)
- Fraud, Misrepresentation, and Suppression (Against All Defendants)
- Violation of the Consumer Fraud Acts
- Survival and Wrongful Death
In 1970, Monsanto discovered the herbicidal properties of glyphosate and began marketing it in 1974 under the brand name Roundup®. Osborn & Barr Communications was responsible for marketing Roundup and related Monsanto products until approximately 2012.
The litigation against Monsanto began after the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a report on glyphosate in 2015. The IARC report concluded that glyphosate is a Group 2A herbicide, which means that it is probably carcinogenic to humans.
According to the Monsanto Roundup cancer lawsuits, the IARC report was based, in part, on studies of exposures to glyphosate in several countries around the world, and it traces the health implications from exposure to glyphosate since 2001.
The IARC report concluded that the cancers most associated with glyphosate exposure are non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other hematopoietic cancers, including lymphocytic lymphoma/chronic lymphocytic leukemia, B-cell lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. The report also found that glyphosate exposure caused DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells, as well as genotoxic, hormonal, and enzymatic effects in mammals.
Per the lawsuits, Monsanto has proclaimed and continues to proclaim to the world that Roundup creates no risks to human health or to the environment, at one point going so far as to represent Roundup as being “safer than table salt” and “practically non-toxic.”
The lawsuits allege that Monsanto championed falsified data and attacked legitimate studies that revealed the dangers of Roundup in order to prove that Roundup was safe, while also leading a prolonged campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers, and the general population that Roundup wasn’t dangerous.
The Monsanto Roundup cancer lawsuits assert that multiple studies on Roundup and glyphosate have been ghostwritten in part and/or published by Monsanto from 2000 to present day, which minimizes any safety concerns about the use of glyphosate, are used to convince regulators to allow the sale of Roundup and are used to convince customers to use Roundup.
Such studies were submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and relied upon in assessing the safety of glyphosate, per the complaints. Through these means, the lawsuits accuse Monsanto of fraudulently representing that independent scientists concluded glyphosate to be safe. In fact, the lawsuits claim these independent experts were “…paid by Monsanto and have failed to disclose the significant role Monsanto had in creating the manuscripts.”
According to the Monsanto Roundup cancer lawsuits, the agrochemical company has further ghostwritten editorials for scientists such as Robert Tarone and Henry Miller to advocate for the safety of glyphosate in the media, and the company has also ghostwritten letters by supposed independent scientists that were submitted to regulatory agencies charged with reviewing the safety of glyphosate.
The lawsuits also accuse Monsanto of violating federal regulations by holding secret meetings and conversations with certain EPA employees to “…collude in a strategy to re-register glyphosate and to quash investigations into the carcinogenicity of glyphosate by other federal agencies such as the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.”
Documents obtained in discovery show that an EPA official who was in charge of evaluating Roundup’s cancer risk, allegedly bragged to a Monsanto executive that he “should get a medal” if he could quash another agency’s investigation into glyphosate.
Monsanto’s close connection with the EPA arises in part from its offering of lucrative consulting gigs to retiring EPA officials, according to the allegations.
“Whenever you encounter large-scale environmental injuries of this kind, you see the subversion of democracy and the corruption of government agencies and public officials who are supposed to protect us,” says environmental attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who is working with Baum Hedlund in representing individuals who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after being exposed to Roundup. “This litigation makes clear that Monsanto’s expertise in deploying these techniques is unparalleled.”
Earlier this year, Mr. Kennedy and Michael Baum held a press conference with a dozen of their California clients in Fresno to support the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), which was named in a lawsuit by Monsanto over the state’s decision to list glyphosate as a chemical known to cause cancer in accordance with Proposition 65.
Last week, a Fresno superior court judge ruled against Monsanto, allowing California to begin the process of listing glyphosate as a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer. Mr. Kennedy issued the following statement with the announcement of the ruling:
“Democracy is alive and well in California where judges are willing to stand up for science, even against the most powerful corporate polluters. This decision gives Californians the right to protect themselves and their families from chemical trespass.”
With the new claims filed this week, over 700 Roundup cancer claims have been filed in courts throughout the country. The number of Roundup plaintiffs with filed cases is actually as high as 880, as some of the spouses of cancer victims have filed their own claims for loss of consortium.
Baum Hedlund represents 230+ clients diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, with more cases being reviewed every day. Most of the Monsanto Roundup cancer lawsuits are filed in St. Louis City and in the Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2741, (multidistrict litigation), U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).
Roundup cancer attorneys at Baum Hedlund estimate that at least 3,000 individuals have retained counsel in the litigation against Monsanto.
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. The judge overseeing the MDL appointed Baum Hedlund senior shareholder, Michael Baum, and five attorneys from other top tier law firms to serve on the Executive Committee for the recently consolidated federal Monsanto Roundup lawsuits.
Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman has successfully handled thousands of cases across the nation 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.