Monsanto Secret Documents

Monsanto Secret Documents

On June 30, 2017, attorneys from Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, along with the leadership of the Roundup multidistrict litigation (MDL), challenged the protection of the documents below, in an effort to make them available to the public. In a meeting to discuss the matter, Monsanto told the plaintiffs’ attorneys to “go away” and that the company would not voluntarily agree to de-designate any documents.

Pursuant to Paragraph 16.3 of the Protective Order in the MDL, Monsanto was required to file a motion seeking continued protection of those documents challenged by the Plaintiffs’ June 30, 2017 letter within 30 days. In failing to file such motion within 30 days, i.e., July 31, 2017, Monsanto “automatically waive[s] the confidentiality designation for each challenged designation.” Id. ¶ 16.3.  And, since Monsanto did not file any motion seeking continued protection of the documents, it waived confidentiality over them. The documents are now officially public and Baum Hedlund is excited to share them with the world.

The documents below allow people to see what is happening “behind the curtain” of secrecy that normally shrouds ongoing litigation. Along with each document, you will find a short description, along with the document’s relevance to the ongoing Monsanto Roundup litigation. These documents tell an alarming story of ghostwriting, scientific manipulation, collusion with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and previously undisclosed information about how the human body absorbs glyphosate. The following secret documents help us better understand the serious public health consequences of Monsanto’s conduct in marketing the herbicide Roundup.

We sent the following Monsanto secret documents to (1) the EPA Office of Inspector General, Arthur Elkins, Jr., who is presently investigating whether there was illegal collusion between EPA and Monsanto; (2) the California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), which recently listed glyphosate as a substance known to the state of California to cause cancer and is soliciting comments from Baum Hedlund and others to advise about whether glyphosate should be given a safe-harbor]; and (3) the European Parliament members, who recently sent a letter to the judge overseeing the MDL litigation, requesting documents as the EU considers whether it will renew registration of glyphosate for sale in Europe.

Below, you will find links to internal Monsanto emails, text messages, company reports and other memoranda obtained by Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman. The documents have been sorted into groups based on the following issues:

  • Ghostwriting, Peer-Review & Retraction
  • Surfactants, Carcinogenicity & Testing
  • Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism & Excretion
  • Regulatory & Government

With each document, you will find a corresponding description, which briefly summarizes the key points raised, as well as commentary describing the relevance of each document to the ongoing Roundup litigation. Our commentary on the relevance of each document may contain allegations cited in the Roundup litigation. These are allegations only, as the litigation is ongoing and there has not been any determination of guilt or liability.

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Challenged Documents

PDF Chart of Documents

Issue: Ghostwriting, Peer-Review & Retraction

1. Monsanto Executive William Heydens’ Edits and Comments on Expert Consultant Manuscript
No:
MONGLY01000676, MONGLY01000680
Date: 2/8/2016 – 2/9/2016

Description
This document contains correspondence between Dr. William Heydens and Ashely Roberts regarding the Expert Panel Manuscript.  Dr. Heydens went “through the entire document and “indicated what I think should stay, what can go, and in a couple spots I did a little editing. I took a crack at adding a little text: on page 10 to address John’s comments about toxicologists’ use of Hill’s criteria … see what you think; it made sense to me, but I’m not sure if it will to others – please feel free to further modify and/or run by Cary.” at *1. The edited draft is also attached and challenged for confidentiality.

Relevance
This document is relevant and reasonably likely to be used in this litigation as it demonstrates Monsanto’s significant role in drafting and editing the manuscript by its expert consultants without disclosing its contributions.  The document is related to how the inherent conflict of interest may affect the credibility of manuscript which refuted IARC’s general causation conclusion.  The reliability and consensus of scientific literature is directly relevant to general causation.  These documents also go to witness credibility.

2. Internal Email: Monsanto Executive William Heydens Admits to Ghostwriting Introductory Chapter in Expert Panel Manuscript
No: MONGLY00999487
Date: 1/6/2016

Description
This document contains email correspondence between Dr. Heydens and Ashley Roberts (Intertek) wherein Dr. Heydens admits to writing “a draft introduction chapter back in October/November…[a]nd then comes the question of who should be the ultimate author … you or Gary? I was thinking you for the Introduction chapter and Gary for the Summary chapter, but I am totally open to your suggestions.” at *2.

Relevance
This document is relevant and reasonably likely to be used in this litigation as it again indicates that Monsanto was a significant contributor to the Expert Panel Manuscript without disclosing its substantive role in the final publication which refuted IARC’s general causation conclusion. Dr. Heydens explicitly suggests that affiliated consultants appear as authors instead of himself. Indeed, Monsanto own experts rely on the “Expert Panels” analysis. The reliability and consensus of scientific literature is directly relevant to general causation.  This document also goes to witness credibility.

3. Internal Emails Show Monsanto Made Substantial Contributions to Published Expert Panel Manuscript
No: MONGLY00998682, MONGLY00998687
Date: 1/9/2016 – 1/13/2016

Description
The documents contain email correspondence between Dr. William Heydens and Ashley Roberts (Intertek) wherein Dr. Heydens heavily edits (“here are my suggested edits to the Draft Combined Manuscript” at *1) the Expert Panel’s manuscript drafted in opposition to IARC’s classification of glyphosate. The edited draft is also attached and challenged for confidentiality.

Relevance
The documents are relevant and reasonably likely to be used in this litigation as they demonstrate that the manuscript published under the authorship of the Expert Panel was composed with substantive contributions by Monsanto. Monsanto did not disclose its role in drafting the manuscript which directly challenged the general causation “2A probable carcinogen” conclusion by IARC.  Indeed, Monsanto own experts rely on the “Expert Panels” analysis. The reliability and consensus of scientific literature is directly relevant to general causation.  These documents also go to witness credibility.

4. Internal Email Further Demonstrating Heydens’ Involvement in Drafting Expert Panel Manuscript
No: MONGLY02085862
Date: 2/4/2016

Description
This document contains an email from Dr. Heydens to Ashely Roberts regarding the introduction to the Expert Panel Manuscript. Among other features, Dr. Heydens’ draft attempts to convey “that glyphosate is really expansively used.” at *1.

Relevance
It is relevant and reasonably likely to be used in this litigation for the same reasons as the above (MONGLY01000676) document. The reliability and consensus of scientific literature is directly relevant to general causation.  This document also goes to witness credibility.

5. Internal Email Shows Monsanto Involvement with Scientific Studies Without Disclosing Conflicts of Interest
No:
MONGLY01023968
Date: 5/8/2015 – 5/11/2015

Description
This document contains email correspondence between Michael Koch and Dr. William Heydens regarding “Post-IARC Activities to Support Glyphosate”. Dr. Heydens explicitly identifies one of the goals as “Publication on Animal Data Cited by IARC…Manuscript to be initiated by Mon as ghost writers”. at *1.

Relevance
This document is relevant and reasonably likely to be used in this litigation as it demonstrates Monsanto’s involvement in scientific publications without disclosing inherent conflicts of interest. Through ghost-writing, Monsanto is able to populate the scientific discourse with favorable studies on glyphosate without appearing to be involved in the dissemination of data. Regulators and consumers are thus not provided with an impartial and transparent assessment of Roundup and glyphosate; assessments which are then relied upon to evaluate the biological plausibility of Roundup and/or glyphosate as a carcinogen. This document is of similar nature to a document already de-designated by the Court in which Dr. Heydens advocates ghostwriting. See MONGLY00977267. The reliability and consensus of scientific literature is directly relevant to general causation. This document also goes to witness credibility.

More Monsanto Secret Documents: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8