Cancer Lawsuit Against Agrochemical Company Monsanto Proceeds to Trial

Plaintiff Dewayne Johnson listens as attorney Brent Wisner speaks about his condition during the Monsanto trial in San Francisco California on July 09 2018. — AFP pic

The decision by U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco allows hundreds of lawsuits against Roundup's manufacturer, Monsanto, to move forward.

Hundreds of lawsuits against Monsato, which is now a unit of Bayer AG following a $62.5 billion takeover, have been allowed to go ahead, as cancer survivors or families of those who died have sued.

Up next, Chhabria said, individual plaintiffs will need to present "enough evidence to warrant a jury trial on whether glyphosate caused the National Hockey League [cause non-Hodgkin's lymphoma] they developed".

Lawsuits allege that Roundup maker Monsanto long knew about the cancer risk associated with the week killer but did not warn people.

Chhabria is presiding over more than 400 of them.

A separate trial is under way in San Francisco in a lawsuit by a school groundskeeper dying of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - the first case a jury has heard alleging Roundup caused cancer.

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It wasn't the time, Chhabria said, for a judge to exclude those opinions - even if he believes potential jurors in the case might question the experts' findings or credibility.

"The scientific evidence is overwhelming that glyphosate-based products do not cause cancer and did not cause Mr. Johnson's cancer", Lombardi said during his opening statement.

Aimee Wagstaff, one of the lawyers representing the people suing the company, in a statement said she was pleased her clients will have their day in court. The California state judge who handles the most Roundup cases posted to her docket that she was attending the hearings before Chhabria in March.

The weed-killer contains glyphosate, a chemical that the US Environmental Protection Agency ruled was not carcinogenic in September.

A federal judge in Sacramento has blocked California from requiring that Roundup carry a label stating that it is known to cause cancer, saying the warning is misleading because nearly all regulators have concluded that there is no evidence glyphosate is carcinogenic.

But serious doubts remain as the World Health Organization in 2015 classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans".

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