A federal judge in California has refused to dismiss a product liability lawsuit filed against Monsanto Co. by a man who claims his cancer was caused by prolonged use of Roundup weed killer, rejecting the manufacturer’s arguments that his claims are preempted by the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one was diagnosed with any form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL) after using or being exposed to Roundup, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against Monsanto and our lawyers can help.
What’s the Problem?
April 13, 2016 – Monsanto’s arguments to toss Plaintiff Edward Hardeman’s case looking to hold the company responsible for his development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma failed entirely, with U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria finding that Hardeman’s claims were legitimate based on FIFRA, meaning they aren’t preempted by the act as Monsanto alleged.
While Chhabria admitted that California law “can sometimes” allow a manufacturer to avoid liability when a warning would be unreasonable, Hardeman’s allegations stem from FIFRA’s more specific provision which requires an “adequate” warning, without regard to reasonableness.
“In this light, it’s hard to see how Hardeman’s failure-to-warn claims could ‘be construed more broadly than’ FIFRA,” Chhabria said. “Indeed, Hardeman’s complaint explicitly bases his California-law failure-to-warn claims on Monsanto’s alleged violation of FIFRA.”
Regarding Monsanto’s allegation that Hardeman’s claims are again preempted because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved Roundup’s labeling, Chhabria said this approval does not prohibit litigation based on FIFRA.
“The mere fact that the EPA has approved a product label does not prevent a jury from finding that that same label violates FIFRA,” Chhabria said.
The judge rejected additional claims by Monsanto stating that Hardeman cannot continue with his lawsuit since he contends that Roundup is “inherently and unavoidably dangerous,” because he is claiming the herbicide did not have the warning it should have.
Hardeman alleges that Roundup caused him to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that affects the immune system and white blood cells, which he was diagnosed with last year.
Hardeman claims to have used Roundup regularly for decades to control poison oak and weeds on his property, but the herbicide lacked adequate warnings regarding the potential health risks it posed and was generally “unfit and unsuitable to be marketed and sold in commerce,” according to the lawsuit.
Additionally, Hardeman alleges that Monsanto has been aware of Roundup’s carcinogenic effects since shortly after it was initially synthesized in 1974, and also referenced the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer’s 2015 study which characterized glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
In response to this designation, the California Environmental Protection Agency announced last September that it would classify glyphosate as a known carcinogen under the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. Monsanto filed its own suit against the agency, alleging that its right to due process had been violated by the proposal.
Hardeman’s case is: Hardeman v. Monsanto Company et al., 3:16-cv-00525, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Monsanto is also facing numerous other complaints over the allegedly cancer-causing properties of Roundup, most of which have been filed in California.
Do I Have a Roundup Lawsuit?
The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Roundup lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cancer and birth defect cases in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you developed any form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL) after using or being exposed to Roundup, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and er can help.