Skip to comments.Trial Lawyers Still Don't Have a Winning Case Against Monsanto
Posted on 04/21/2018 5:50:12 AM PDT by Kaslin
Trial lawyers hoping to take a big bite out of food producer Monsanto’s bottom line with a lawsuit over its most popular weed-killer have run into a problem – the judge who they need to convince their arguments are valid is not buying it.
In 2015, the International Agency for Research and Cancer, based in Lyon, France, declared glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, the world’s most popular weed-killer, a “probably human carcinogen.”
No other scientific body has reached that conclusion. Indeed, the Environmental Protection Agency says glyphosate is safe for humans when used in accordance with label directions, the National Institute of Health has concluded it is not a carcinogen and, as a Monsanto official pointed out, more than 800 scientific, medical, peer-reviewed articles have been published saying there is no association whatsoever between glyphosate and any form of cancer.
But armed with the finding of the body in France, trial lawyers have filed 2,400 lawsuits in American courts – about 2,000 at the state level – that allege their clients have contracted non-Hodgkins lymphoma from exposure to Roundup.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria began to assess the expert witnesses plaintiffs plan to call at trial in the more than 300 federal cases, involving more than 700 farmers, landscapers and gardeners, that have been combined in his court to determine if their findings were supported by sufficient science to be permitted to testify. He was not impressed.
A dozen expert witnesses for the plaintiffs – including toxicologists, statisticians, an oncologist and a couple of epidemiologists, who study how humans contract disease – labeled the evidence glyphosate causes cancer “shaky” and indicated he was unlikely to permit more than one of the witnesses to testify.
“I do have a difficult time understanding how an epidemiologist in the face of all the evidence that we saw and heard last week” can conclude that glyphosate “is in fact causing” non-Hodgkins lymphoma,” the judge said. “… The evidence that glyphosate is currently causing NHL in human beings” at current exposure levels is “pretty sparse.”
Judge Chhabra said his objective in the weeklong series of presentations by scientists for the plaintiffs was not to determine whether glyphosate causes cancer but rather whether the testimony they would offer is within the “range of reasonableness.”
It was not reasonable, he said, to conclude glyphosate causes cancer based only on the findings of the body in France. It relied on a study that showed cancer incidence increased in mice exposed to glyphosate, but the judge pointed out not everything that causes cancer in mice causes it in humans as well. Therefore, he indicated, all the witnesses that relied on their IARC findings for their testimony will be rejected.
Chhabra said he may allow one witness – Beate Ritz, a public health professor at UCLA – to testify because she conducted her own research, based on a study of the literature. But he said even her testimony is “dubious,” pronounced her entire field “loosey goosey” and “highly subjective,” and indicated he would permit her testimony only because he suspects Ritz is “operating within the mainstream of the field” and “maybe that means it’s up to the jury to decide if they buy her presentation.”
This is not good for the plaintiffs. “It’s game over … if they can’t get over this hurdle,” David Levine, an expert in federal court procedure at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, told the New York Daily News.
Their lawyers say the judge should not reject out of hand those who rely on the report from the group in France and should instead “dissect” and consider a “subset of opinions.” They say the science strongly supports their conclusions, their experts have used valid methodologies and “ultimately, we think courts will agree.”
But so far what they have are 12 witnesses, only one of whom, at most, seems likely to be declared qualified to testify. And the judge thinks that one person’s field is loosey goosey and her findings dubious and can’t help but have noticed that another federal judge, in Sacramento, has ruled California cannot force Monsanto to put cancer warnings on Roundup labels because the state can’t prove glyphosate causes cancer.
That’s always been the problem for those who sought to bring down Monsanto and Roundup. They simply have not been able to scientifically make the case in U.S. courts glyphosate causes cancer. The new strategy – relying on a study from a French group aligned with the World Health Organization – does not appear to be working either.
Maybe it’s time to give up.
For non-professionals, it’s the Daubert rule. Daubert v. Merrell, 509 U.S. 579 (1993).
Good. A judge with a brain rather than a cranium full of emotion
Next thing they will try is proving Roundup causes acne.
Roundup must die. It is improving crop production and reducing world hunger.
One of the Lefts primary political tools is that the poor are starving, and the Rich are getting fat. With Poor getting fat that tool looks ridiculous.
Pretty much, the only people starving happen to be living in Socialist countries. So the Starving Poor tool looks even more ludicrous.
Roundup must be killed! (And if some Leftist lawyers get rich in the process so much the better)
I think you nailed it. This is looking more and more like socialist do-gooders trying to starve the poor. Just like the GMO hysteria. You can’t bring drought resistant crops into 3rd world regions that would feed the people because... GMO GMO GMO. Then the same people cry and whine about world hunger. What a load of crap.
People have been genetically modifying food since the beginning of farming. Very little, if any of the foods we eat don’t contain some type of genetic modification from the original plant. Look up what original corn or wheat looked like. The same goes for watermelons, bananas and basically everything else. Cows, chickens, pigs, have all been genetically tampered with for tens of thousands of years. It’s all been done to better mankind’s ability to feed ourselves. The socialists seem to hate that.
It seems like every time some scientist looks at the dog they figure out that the dog has been with man for a longer period of time in the tens of thousands of years.
And so has been bred for that long. I think the last I read it was around 50K years.
Breeding equals gene manipulation. The Left will never admit it but it is true. Everything from fruit trees to fruit flies have been gene manipulated by man for untold generations. Even if it was unintentional.
Dogs are now bred to be coyote bait
Becerra would have been able to join in support of the plaintiffs.
You mean those little yappy things.
Dogs are too big for coyotes to take on.
We live in an age characterized by abuse of science to advance political causes. Roundup has become the public enemy #1 among the earth muffin crowd. Of course, most of them live in loft apartments is some decaying urban core and have never bucked hay or looked after farm animals. It looks like they are losing this round thanks to a rational judge and a solid base of real science.
But, this fight is not over. If governments turn the money spigot toward political pseudo science organizations like this French outfit, they will spring up like dandelions in a fresh mowed lawn and this will end up like the climate change cult. Has this appeared on NOVA yet?
Amazing part is that the Judge is a two-time Obama appointee. Also, he is the judge in San Francisco who refused to require the Trump administration to restore healthcare subsidies called for in the Affordable Care Act, saying the presidents action is likely to be lawful and will cause little immediate harm.
Roundup CAN cause acne, cancer too.
But your biases and ignorance will only permit a different viewpoint after your own health crisis compels you to open your eyes...and your mind.
Nevertheless, the slip-and-falls are advertising for plaintiffs on the boob tube around here.
Lack of food causes starvation-—That I can guarantee.
I come from a farming family and worked on a farm in to my twenties.
My uncle was an early adopter of Roundup. (I use it for spot treatments around my house)
In all of these years it has been in use, I have never heard of from any of the farmers I know of a case anyone being harmed by the herbicide.
You would think, if there was a big problem with Roundup that I would have heard about it. I know a lot of farmers and they know a lot more farmers. When I go to the family reunions we talk about farming.
Nope. Never hear about it.
Pharmaceuticals and the rest of the 50,000+ chemicals Americans are exposed to on a daily basis are all innocuous.
Nope, no reason whatsoever for farmers to be wrapped in a condom to apply - among other Ag chemicals - the glyphosate formulation and its “inerts.”
Thanks for confirming my statement. No point elaborating further, other than pointing out your confirmation of the effectiveness of PPE for American farmers.
You are correct.
The MSDS says so.
You should really fight that confirmation bias problem you have there.
You should also know that most farmers today when applying chemicals ride in an airconditioned cab with filtered air.
Really the only time they are directly exposed to the chemicals is when they are mixing the chemical in the applicator tank.
The people who don't recognize this important fact either have an agenda or never bothered to learn anything about chemistry or human biology.
Like piranha. And its not about "justice". Its about the deep pockets.
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