Bayer Faces an Increasing Number of Lawsuits From Hawaiian Plaintiffs
Hawaii will become the next state to pile on lawsuits against Monsanto and its Roundup pesticide. Attorneys recently filed both federal and state product liability suits against the company. They claim their clients developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma after using the pesticide Roundup. The lawsuits follow similar suits across the country.
Roundup Lawsuits in Hawaii
Attorneys Michael Green and Brian Mackintosh are leading the current lawsuits in Hawaii. Both say they have many clients lined up to file suit against the pesticide giant. Monsanto is facing thousands of similar lawsuits. More than 18,000 plaintiffs are suing the company nationwide.
Over the past 20 years, the use of glyphosate-based pesticides has increased significantly. This is due to the use of Roundup Ready crops. These genetically modified crops are designed to resist Roundup and similar pesticides. In other words, farmers can spray fields to kill weeds without killing the crops.
Production of corn and other seed crops in Hawaii has surpassed sugar and pineapple. As such, the prevalence of pesticide-resistant plants has increased in the state.
Roundup is commonly used in Hawaii and the seeds used in the state’s farming industry are often Roundup Ready. The farming industry in Hawaii is not the first group to file lawsuits. Studies show that long-term commercial and agricultural use of the product has health risks, so more lawsuits are likely.
Hawaii Bans Toxic Pesticide
Last year, Hawaii became the first state to ban another toxic pesticide, chlorpyrifos. The pesticide is known to cause damage to brain development in children. Although some have tried, the state has not yet banned pesticides such as Roundup. But Hawaii did succeed in banning the pesticide on school campuses across the state.
The ban at schools was sparked by the first person to win a Roundup suit against Monsanto. “Why I’m here today is to keep this story going and to keep the word out there about the product that I used and about how unsafe it can be for people and especially kids,” said Dewayne “Lee” Johnson. Johnson, a school groundskeeper, was exposed to Roundup through his job. The ban on school campuses was put into effect and enforced immediately.
Advocates in Hawaii want other agencies to follow the lead and ban Roundup. In a statement, Autumn Ness, co-director of the Hawaii Center for Food Safety, said, “It is our hope that if we work together, agency by agency, state by state, we can help decision-makers to realize that relying on toxic chemicals to manage pests is not in anyone’s best interests.”
Roundup Health Risks and Allegations Against Monsanto
Most cases against Roundup allege that the pesticide causes non-Hodgkins lymphoma. This type of cancer is only one of many illnesses named in previous lawsuits, though. Many other types of cancer are listed in lawsuits. Lawsuits also state that Monsanto knew about the health risks associated with its product for decades. They claim that the company misled consumers to believe that the pesticide was safe.
Although children have sued Monsanto for cancer diagnoses, other health risks related to Roundup have also come to light. Studies have shown that the pesticide may increase the risk of developing asthma, autoimmune diseases, and even autism. It is only a matter of time before lawsuits place these other childhood diseases in the spotlight.
Traces of Glyphosate have been found in food, including in 95 percent of oat-based products and many other foods.
Roundup Judgments in Court
Despite the studies and lawsuits, Monsanto still claims that Roundup is safe and that they have done nothing to mislead customers. The courts, however, seem to disagree. Court rulings have awarded plaintiffs tens of millions of dollars in settlements. And while a $2 billion settlement was recently reduced by a federal court to $86.7 million, juries have continued to side with the plaintiffs.
“It’s a relief to know that a jury looked at the science out there and wasn’t bullied by a multi-billion dollar corporation into believing their ghost-written science,” Mackintosh said following one of the verdicts in California earlier this year. The settlements could mean big payouts for Hawaii plaintiffs.
Many of the Roundup cases around the country are being tried in federal court. These cases will likely move slowly through the court system.
On the other hand, Attorney Mackintosh worked to keep his client’s case in Hawaii state court. This means that it will likely be tried earlier than those waiting in federal court.