Filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, the lawsuit names Monsanto Co. of Missouri and Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. of Ohio, which markets and distributes Roundup in several U.S. states. The law firm of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman and six other law firms filed the class action on behalf of the plaintiffs and class members.
At the heart of the class action litigation is Monsanto’s claim throughout their marketing that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, targets an enzyme that is found only in plants. This assertion continues to appear in Monsanto’s video advertisements for their websites and YouTube channel.
However, according to the class action lawsuit, Monsanto’s claim that glyphosate targets an enzyme found only in plants is “false, misleading, and deceptive, as the enzyme that glyphosate targets is found in people and pets—specifically, in beneficial gut bacteria critical to their health and well-being, including their immune system, digestion, allergies, metabolism, and even their brain function.”
What is Glyphosate and How Does it Harm People?
Monsanto introduced glyphosate herbicide in 1974 as a broad spectrum herbicide and crop desiccant. Since its introduction, glyphosate has grown into one of the most widely used agricultural products in the world, accounting for roughly 25 percent of the global herbicide market. A 2016 study found that approximately two-thirds of the total volume of glyphosate used in the U.S. between 1974 and 2014 was sprayed in just the last ten years.
It is undisputed that glyphosate kills weeds by interfering with the “shikimate pathway,” a metabolic sequence that synthesizes vital amino acids. Glyphosate interferes with 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate (EPSP), disrupting the fifth of six enzymatic steps in the shikimate pathway, which processes aromatic amino acids. Inhibiting the shikimate pathway causes an aromatic amino acid deficiency, which eventually causes plants to die by starvation.
Beneficial bacteria in the human gut (and the guts of other mammals), on which our immune systems rely, produce and utilize EPSP. A 2013 study conducted by Awad A. Shehata found that: “A reduction of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract microbiota by ingestion of glyphosate could disturb the normal gut bacterial community.”
“[o]ver the first several years of life each of us establishes a community of microorganisms that are commensal and inhabit niches on skin and mucous membranes. These microorganisms are collectively known as the microbiome, or microbiota, and are predominately obtained from one’s mother…gut-associated organisms are critical to the development and activation of the immune system, especially with regard to cell types intimately associated with autoimmunity.” – Scofiled R.H., Rheumatic Diseases and the Microbiome. International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases 2014; 17: 489–492
What is the Difference Between an Individual Monsanto Roundup Lawsuit and the Roundup Class Action?
The class action litigation against Monsanto is markedly different than the individual lawsuits Monsanto faces throughout the country. The individual lawsuits seek remedy for personal injuries (non-Hodgkin lymphoma) sustained as a result of exposure to Roundup. These lawsuits are filed by farmers, farm workers, horticulturalists, landscapers, gardeners, government employees, and a host of other people who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after exposure to Roundup. These individuals allege Monsanto knew about the link between exposure to Roundup and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but failed to warn consumers.
Monsanto faces individual lawsuits in the following courts:
Federal Litigation: MDL 2741, (Multidistrict Litigation), U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, San Francisco.
California State Litigation: Case No. RG17853420, State of California Superior Court, County of Alameda.
St. Louis Circuit Court Litigation: Case No 1722-CC00796, Case No. 1722-CC00796 and Case No. 1722-CC00799, City of St. Louis Circuit Court for the 22nd Circuit, St. Louis, Missouri.
The Monsanto Roundup class action, on the other hand, involves consumers who allege Monsanto engaged in violations of trade and business practice laws. The class representatives say they would never have purchased Roundup products had they known that glyphosate targets an enzyme that exists in the human body and the bodies of certain mammals, contrary to Monsanto’s marketing.
The class action accuses Monsanto and Scotts Miracle-Gro of unjustly enriching themselves as a result of class members purchasing more Roundup products and paying more for Roundup products than they would have otherwise in absence of the alleged false marketing claims.
What Compensation is Available in the Roundup Class Action?
Plaintiffs and class members who are participating in the Roundup class action say they suffered economic losses, because they purchased more Roundup weed killer products and/or paid more for Roundup than they otherwise would have had they not been deceived by Monsanto’s marketing.
Accordingly, the plaintiffs seek compensation for themselves and class members equal to the amount they paid for Roundup products, which they would never have purchased had they been adequately informed that glyphosate targets an enzyme that exists in both humans and animals.
Unlike the individual Roundup cancer lawsuits filed throughout the country, plaintiffs and class members involved in the Monsanto class action litigation are not seeking damages for personal injuries.
Who Can Join the Monsanto Class Action Lawsuit?
Anyone who purchased certain Roundup products can participate in the Monsanto class action over the misbranding of Roundup. Unlike the individual lawsuits against Monsanto, claimants in the class action do not have to prove that they sustained personal injuries as a result of using the product, only that they purchased the product.
Is Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman Representing Clients in the Monsanto Class Action?
While our firm is involved in the Roundup class action filed in Wisconsin, we are not currently accepting new claimants who wish to join the class action litigation against Monsanto.
However, Baum Hedlund is accepting new cases for clients who wish to pursue individual claims against Monsanto. These are personal injury cases filed by individuals who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after being exposed to Roundup weed killer.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma as a result of using Roundup herbicide, we can help. Our team of Roundup cancer attorneys represent hundreds of people from across the country who wish to hold Monsanto responsible for failing to warn consumers about the link between Roundup and cancer.
Contact us or call 800-827-0087 to speak with an attorney today.