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Louisiana Widow Blames Monsanto for Husband’s Cancer Death

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A Louisiana widow has filed a new wrongful death Roundup lawsuit against herbicide manufacturer Monsanto. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on August 14, 2017. Since all federal cases have been consolidated in a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) the Northern District of California, it is expected that this case will soon be transferred there.

Plaintiff Uses Roundup for 35 Years, Develops NHL

The plaintiff filed the lawsuit on behalf of herself and her two minor children. She claims that as a result of being exposed to Roundup, her husband developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL).

According to the complaint, the decedent routinely used Roundup containing the herbicide glyphosate for at least 35 years while working on his family’s farm in Independence, Louisiana. In August 2016, he was diagnosed with NHL, and died on June 21, 2017 as a result of that diagnosis.

The plaintiff claims that her husband was unaware of the risks associated with Roundup. In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reported that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans.

Monsanto Accused of Manipulating Evidence

The plaintiff claims that although Monsanto has long advertised Roundup as being safe, the manufacturer has known since at least the 1980s that the herbicide glyphosate could cause cancer in laboratory animals. She asserts that the manufacturer seemed to have “championed falsified data” to prove that Roundup was harmless on several occasions.

She also alleges that after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified glyphosate as possibly carcinogenic to humans in 1985 (Group C), Monsanto provided contrary studies to the agency to convince it to change its classification to “evidence of non-carcinogenicity” (Group E) in 1991. On two occasions, the EPA found that laboratories hired by Monsanto to test the toxicity of Roundup committed fraud.

Indeed, recent documents uncovered in the Roundup litigation suggest that Monsanto may have manipulated evidence concerning Roundup and its health risks. For example, documents show that Monsanto worked with a consulting firm to publish a scientific review of the evidence, and actually edited drafts of the review.

Plaintiff Seeks Punitive Damages

The plaintiff also cites number of studies that link glyphosate to NHL and other types of cancer. On September 4, 2015, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) published a notice of intent to include glyphosate on the state’s list of known carcinogens. In January 2016, Monsanto filed a lawsuit against the OEHHA to stop it from adding glyphosate on the list. But on July 7, 2017, the OEHHA named glyphosate as a chemical that can cause cancer and slated it for inclusion on the state’s list of carcinogenic chemicals. Monsanto is fighting that addition in court.

The plaintiff brings counts of design defect, failure to warn, negligence, breach of warranties, and wrongful death. She seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

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