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Roundup Lawsuits Alleging Cancer Link Move Forward


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Lawsuits saying Roundup weed killer caused cancer are moving forward after a federal judge recently issued a key ruling, saying experts for the plaintiffs may testify.

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria released a 68-page decision concluding that experts who say Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, causes cancer meet the legal requirements to present their opinions to juries.

“The opinions of these experts, while shaky, are admissible,” the judge wrote.

Chhabria is presiding over more than 450 cases against Roundup maker Monsanto that are part of multidistrict litigation in the Northern District of California.

The lawsuits against the agrochemical giant allege that glyphosate caused non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

This is a cancer that affects a type of white blood cell that is part of the immune system. The cells are known as lymphocytes.

Monsanto Failed to Disqualify Experts

Monsanto filed a motion seeking to disqualify the plaintiffs’ experts, which would have been a major blow to the lawsuits if it had succeeded.

But Chhabria ruled that the experts meet the legal standards to testify.

“The plaintiffs have presented evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude that glyphosate can cause [non-Hodgkin lymphoma] at human-relevant doses,” the judge wrote.

The judge also denied Monsanto’s motion to dismiss the suits.

The “ruling marks a significant victory in the fight for justice on behalf of our clients who were injured by exposure to Roundup,” said Aimee H. Wagstaff of Denver-based Andrus Wagstaff, one of the lead counsels. “We look forward to our day in court and the opportunity to hold Monsanto accountable.”

Other lead counsels include Robin L. Greenwald of Weitz & Luxenberg of New York City and Michael Miller of The Miller Law Firm of Virginia.

Their cases have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation, or MDLs, which is how is how federal courts manage large numbers of lawsuits that involve similar issues and defendants.

MDLs are assigned to the same judge, no matter where they were filed. The MDL judge makes all pretrial rulings and presides over early trials, known as bellwethers.

State Roundup Case Goes to Trial

In addition to the federal cases in the MDL, lawsuits have been filed in state courts in Missouri, California, Montana and Delaware.

Diagnosed with cancer after exposure to Roundup? Get a Free Case Review

On Monday, one of the California cases went to trial. The case involves Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, 46, a former school district groundskeeper.

Johnson’s terminal non-Hodgkin lymphoma was diagnosed four years ago.

Monsanto’s lawyer, George Lombardi, told jurors numerous studies have shown glyphosate doesn’t cause cancer, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The paper reported that Johnson’s attorney, Brent Wisner, told jurors in his opening statement that “a mountain of data” demonstrates that glyphosate can cause genetic damage that could lead to NHL.

He said Monsanto published information “ghost written” by staffers denying the toxicity of the chemical.

Elaine Silvestrini
Written By Elaine Silvestrini Writer

Elaine Silvestrini is an award-winning journalist with 30 years of experience covering state and federal court systems. She joined Drugwatch in 2017. Her coverage for Drugwatch has been cited in the CDC’s Public Health Law News and the USA Today Network. Some of her qualifications include:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention certificates in Health Literacy
  • Experience as an assistant investigator for the Federal Public Defender
  • Loyola Law School Journalist Law School Fellowship
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4 Cited Research Articles writers follow rigorous sourcing guidelines and cite only trustworthy sources of information, including peer-reviewed journals, court records, academic organizations, highly regarded nonprofit organizations, government reports and interviews with qualified experts. Review our editorial policy to learn more about our process for producing accurate, current and balanced content.

  1. United States District Court Northern District of California. (2018, July 10). In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation. Case 3:16mf027541. Document 1596. Pretrial Order No. 45: Summary Judgment and Daubert Motions. Retrieved from
  2. Fimrite, P. (2018, July 9). Does Roundup cause cancer? Patient’s case against Monsanto goes to trial in SF. Retrieved from
  3. Cision PR Newswire. (2018, July 11). Honorable Vince Chhabria Makes Ruling in Monsanto Roundup Case. Retrieved from
  4. U. S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. (2018, June 15). MDL Statistics Report – Distribution of Pending MDL Dockets by Actions Pending. Retrieved from
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