Originally published: AboutLawsuits
Monsanto faces a product liability lawsuit filed by a former groundskeeper diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, alleging that the manufacturer failed to adequately warn consumers about the cancer risks associated with exposure to Roundup.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Richard Aird in the Delaware Superior Court on March 22, indicating that Monsanto Company withheld information from agricultural workers about the health risks associated with glyphosate contained in the popular weedkiller, preventing Aird from taking safety precautions that may have avoided the development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Aird indicates that he worked for about 10 years as a groundskeeper at Canyon Oaks Ranch, in San Juan Capistrano, California. During that time he mixed and sprayed the weedkiller Roundup on a daily basis.
In March 2007, the former groundskeeper was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which has caused him to undergo several cycles of chemotherapy and resulted in the need for ongoing treatment with an oncologist.
“Plaintiff followed all safety and precautionary warnings during the course of use,” the lawsuit explains. “During the entire time that Plaintiff was exposed to Roundup, he did not know, and could not reasonably know or have learned through reasonable diligence, that exposure to Roundup was injurious to his health or the health of others.”
The case joins a growing number of similar Roundup non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma lawsuits filed in recent months against Monsanto by groundskeepers, farmers, landscapers, agricultural workers and others exposed to the weedkiller throughout the United states. Each of the plaintiffs raise similar allegations that the manufacturer provided false and misleading information about Roundup, often suggesting that it was “safer than table salt” or “practically non-toxic” to mammals, birds and fish.
Concerns about the link between Roundup and cancer surfaced in March 2015, when the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) determined that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is likely a cancer-causing agent. In particular, the IARC report links the side effects of Roundup to an increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Aird and other plaintiffs indicate that they may have avoided a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or other cancers if they had been warned about the Roundup risks for farmers, landscapers and others in the agricultural industry, as safety precautions could have been taken or other products could have been used to control the growth of weeds.
While Aird and some other plaintiffs have filed lawsuits in state courts nationwide, many of the cases are being filed in federal courts as well. Given similar questions of fact and law raised in complaints filed throughout the federal court system, centralized pretrial proceedings have been established before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in the Northern District of California.
Known as a federal MDL, or multidistrict litigation, the centralized management is designed to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues in the cases, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different courts and to serve the convenience of parties, witnesses and the courts.
Following the MDL proceedings before Judge Chhabria, if Roundup settlements or another resolution for the cases are not reached, each individual complaint may be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for an individual trial date.