Los Angeles, California – The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) for the Northern District of California has today consolidated 37 lawsuits that allege exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer causes cancer. The JPML consolidated the lawsuits in Northern California where two of the earliest Monsanto cancer lawsuits were filed. The case is In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL number 2741, in the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.
Roundup is a non-selective herbicide that is used to kill weeds that compete with crops. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, kills weeds by inhibiting a specific enzyme that is necessary for plant growth.
Several studies on Roundup [glyphosate] have uncovered evidence linking the herbicide to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, bone cancer, colon cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, melanoma, pancreatic cancer and thyroid cancer. Last year, the World Health Organization’s cancer research arm (the International Agency for Research on Cancer) completed a comprehensive analysis on the toxicity of glyphosate, finding the chemical to be a “probable human carcinogen.”
The Monsanto cancer lawsuits claim that Monsanto failed to warn consumers and regulators that exposure to Roundup weed killer and its active ingredient, glyphosate, can cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Consumers in 21 districts have been urging the JPML since July to consolidate the cases in either California, Hawaii, Illinois or Louisiana, and the panel today finally decided on the Northern District of California. The JPML chose the location because it is convenient and accessible for all parties. The MDL will appear before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria.
California is home to a number of claimants who have filed Monsanto cancer lawsuits. Among them is Teri McCall of Cambria, California, who lost her husband to non-Hodgkin lymphoma last year.
Teri’s late husband, Jack McCall, was a Vietnam War hero and well-known farmer in Cambria. Jack used Roundup weed killer on the couple’s 20-acre fruit and vegetable farm for nearly 30 years. On a day in September of 2015, he went to the hospital to get a diagnosis after noticing swollen lymph nodes in his neck. That day, Jack received news that no one could ever be prepared for—he was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a rare and aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
It was only after Jack was diagnosed with cancer that he learned of the link between Roundup and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He immediately stopped using Roundup on his farm. Unfortunately, the move away from Roundup came too late.
Three months after his initial diagnosis, and after undergoing numerous painful cancer treatments, Jack suffered a severe stroke on Christmas Eve due to complications with his treatment. On December 26, 2015, Jack McCall lost his battle with cancer.
In the wake of her husband’s passing, Teri McCall filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Monsanto, alleging the agrochemical giant knew for decades that the herbicide was carcinogenic, but failed to warn consumers about the health dangers. Instead of informing the public about the dangers, Monsanto continued to market Roundup as harmless, at one point declaring the glyphosate herbicide “safer than table salt.” To this day, Monsanto continues to deny the science linking Roundup and cancer and persists in marketing the herbicide to the agricultural community, gardeners and landscapers as safe and effective.
Plaintiffs Win the Centralization Fight
Monsanto fought consolidation of Roundup cancer lawsuits, arguing that individualized facts pertaining to each case (how each person was exposed, the formulation of the herbicide that each person was exposed to, and the specific type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that each person was diagnosed with) would carry more weight than common factual issues.
The JPML was unmoved by Monsanto’s arguments, finding that the individualized factual issues at play in each case are not enough to prevail over the efficiency gained by consolidating the cases.
“Regardless of the particular formulation of Roundup at issue (all of which employ glyphosate as the active ingredient), or the nature of plaintiff’s exposure to glyphosate, all the actions entail an overarching query—whether glyphosate causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in persons exposed to it while using Roundup,” the JPML wrote in its decision.
The JPML added while nearly all personal injury litigation involves plaintiff-specific questions of causation and damages, the differences in each case are not an impediment to consolidation of the Monsanto cancer lawsuits.
R. Brent Wisner, a personal injury attorney with Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman who represents Teri McCall and dozens of others in Roundup lawsuits, said he was happy with the JPML decision.
“These cases are ideally suited for pretrial coordination and we were, quite frankly, shocked that Monsanto opposed it,” said Wisner. “We are excited to get these cases moving before Judge Chhabria and we hope to press these cases to trial as soon as possible.”
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More and more people with non-Hodgkin lymphoma are hiring our firm every week in hopes we will prevail in our litigation. If you have been diagnosed with cancer after being exposed to Monsanto Roundup or another glyphosate herbicide, please call 1-800-827-0087 to speak with one of our attorneys today.
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