Ethan A. Huff
October 21, 2016
The makings of what could become the first successful class-action lawsuit against the world’s most evil corporation are giving a much-needed boost to the movement for clean food. Agri-giant Monsanto will soon face a barrage of lawsuits from a number of law firms over cancer-causing agents in its popular Roundup herbicide, which is reportedly making many people sick.
Two cases were recently filed in federal court in East St. Louis, and others are waiting in the wings to join them. Since the suits all claim the same thing – that glyphosate causes cancer – they may eventually be conjoined and filed as a class-action against the chemical behemoth, whose most popular herbicide was earlier this year declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) to cause cancer.
Since WHO released the findings through its International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a prestigious body made up of scientific experts from all around the world, Monsanto has been the subject of increasing scrutiny over its popular herbicide product, which has been sprayed to the tune of tens of billions of pounds globally since the product was first released commercially.
Monsanto claims that the IARC’s conclusion that glyphosate probably causes cancer is bunk, and that it’s been “thoroughly discredited and rejected by the rigorous scientific research of governmental authorities around the world.” But plaintiffs in the various cases, as well as legions of independent scientists, wholeheartedly disagree, citing evidence that glyphosate is responsible for causing a number of different cancers, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Class-action lawsuits make sense to consolidate laborious discovery process and help ensure victory
Since each individual case involving Roundup will be required to conduct extensive discovery concerning the safety, development and marketing of the herbicide going back to the mid-1970s, the plaintiffs in dozens of cases filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois are hoping to combine their efforts in order to increase their chances of success.
“Each Plaintiff will need to conduct the same complicated regulatory and scientific discovery (spanning over 40 years) to demonstrate that exposure to Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” a motion for the class-action states, as quoted by EcoWatch.
“To date, a few of the Roundup Cases have commenced discovery, but that discovery is being conducted under different, and sometimes conflicting, judicial constraints and orders. Centralizing these cases before one [Multidistrict Litigation] Judge to ensure that the discovery is done once for all claimants makes sense.”
The filing in Southern Illinois is strategic, as the midwestern state is the largest producer of soybeans, the vast majority of which are Roundup-Ready, genetically-modified (GM) soybeans manufactured by Monsanto. The Southern District of Illinois court is also located just 20 miles away from Monsanto’s St. Louis headquarters.
But the cases aren’t limited to just the Midwest. Lawsuits are springing up all across the country, as farmers and consumers alike report serious health effects from exposure to glyphosate and the foods upon which it’s being sprayed. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently filed a notice in the Federal Register concerning plans to have an eight-member scientific panel review IARC’s findings in order to reach a consensus.
Concerns over glyphosate’s continued use not only on GM crops but also on wheat as a pre-harvest desiccant have prompted many Americans to start growing their own food at home using tools like the Food Rising Mini-Farm Grow Box 2.0. Many others are taking the litigation route, as studies confirm that glyphosate is linked to causing breast cancer, endocrine disruption, cutaneous melanoma and many other forms of chronic disease.
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