Court Tentatively Dismisses Monsanto’s Lawsuit over Glyphosate Cancer Warning
Monsanto has suffered a legal loss in an attempt to prevent its Roundup herbicide from being labeled as carcinogenic under California’s Proposition 65 (Prop 65). The company has sued California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s (OEHHA) over the cancer warning label. However, the Superior Court of California, County of Fresno has tentatively dismissed Monsanto’s lawsuit.
The personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP are closely monitoring events in the Monsanto Roundup herbicide litigation. The firm, which has decades of experience representing clients in lawsuits over environmental health risks, continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a Roundup cancer lawsuit.
According to court records, the tentative ruling was issued before the hearing date of Jan. 27, 2017. The ruling was not yet made final as of Feb. 1, 2017. Monsanto’s lawsuit will be dismissed if the ruling is finalized, but the company has said it intends to challenge the court’s decision.
The main ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate, which was declared a “probable human carcinogen” in March 2015 by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Following this announcement, the OEHHA sought to add glyphosate to the list of chemicals known to cause cancer in the state of California under Prop 65.
Monsanto has fought the Prop 65 listing; the company filed a lawsuit alleging that OEHHA engaged in an unconstitutional delegation of its rulemaking authority because the agency “cedes the basis of its regulatory authority to an unelected and non-transparent foreign body that is not under the oversight or control of any federal or state government entity.” According to court documents, the lawsuit alleged five constitutional violations: (1) a violation of the due process clauses of the California and U.S. Constitutions; (2) a violation of free speech under the California and the U.S. Constitutions; (3) a violation of the Guarantee Clause of the U.S. Constitution; (4) a violation of the California Constitution regarding the naming/identifying of IARC (Article II, Section 12); and (5) a violation of the California Constitution through empowering IARC to make laws applicable to California (Article IV, Section 1).
The California Superior Court, however, ruled that Monsanto has failed to state facts and insufficiently alleged each of its claims. Regarding the unconstitutional delegation of authority, the court ruled “there is no support for Monsanto’s conclusion that the OEHHA has unconstitutionally delegated its rulemaking authority to the IARC,” noting that “the voters and the legislature have established the basic legislative scheme and made the fundamental policy decision with regard to listing possible carcinogens under Proposition 65, and then allowed the IARC to make the highly technical fact-finding decisions with regard to which specific chemicals would be added to the list.”
Monsanto’s other claims also do not have any support, the court ruled.
Roundup Cancer Lawsuits Consolidated into MDL
Monsanto is facing individual lawsuits alleging that exposure to its Roundup herbicide contributed to cancer. The company is accused of knowing about the risks but failing to warn consumers.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has consolidated Roundup lawsuits into a federal multidistrict litigation before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Transferring similar lawsuits into an MDL makes complex litigation more efficient because it eliminates duplicate discovery and streamlines legal proceedings. Cases in an MDLs are grouped together in one court, but plaintiffs are treated individually.
Court documents show that one Roundup case was filed on behalf of an Illinois man who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The plaintiff filed the lawsuit in February 2016. According to the complaint, he has used Roundup regularly since the 1980s. Specifically, he used Roundup herbicide to control the growth of poison oak and weeds on his property in Sonoma, California. He developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, allegedly due to glyphosate exposure. His lawsuit alleges that Monsanto has been aware of Roundup’s link to cancer since the 1970s, but failed to warn the public.
The carcinogenicity of glyphosate is still being debated. The IARC has declared the chemical to be a probable human carcinogen, while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs said it was not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.
According to court records, plaintiffs in the Roundup litigation allege that the EPA conclusions were based on flawed research. Monsanto has argued the same about the IARC findings. Judge Chhabria has ordered briefs to be submitted for these claims.
Filing a Monsanto Roundup Herbicide Lawsuit
Parker Waichman has spent years representing clients in lawsuits over alleged environmental health risks. If you or someone you know is interested in filing a Monsanto RoundUp Herbicide lawsuit, speak with one of our environmental attorneys today. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).