Langford also names agricultural products firm Wilbur-Ellis, a San Francisco-based company that markets and distributes agricultural and industrial products, including Roundup and other herbicides throughout California. According to Forbes, Wilbur-Ellis is one of America's largest private companies, with over $3 billion in revenue. Langford purchased Roundup at a hardware store near his home supplied by Wilbur-Ellis.
Monsanto Failure to Warn
Langford sprayed Roundup around his 5.5 acre property since 1985 to control weeds and insects. As well, in his job as building inspector supervising large construction projects in Northern California he was also exposed to Roundup. Although he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2007, Langford continued to regularly used Roundup up until 2019 – evidence of Monsanto’s failure to warn.
Langford also alleges negligence, design defect, and negligent misrepresentation and/or fraud, among other claims, against Monsanto, a St. Louis-based agrochemical business owned since 2018 by conglomerate Bayer.
According to the complaint, Monsanto owes Roundup’s success to a “focused campaign of deception, aimed at deflecting and undermining both scientific and anecdotal reports that the herbicide was a danger to humans and animals and would, directly contrary to the company’s claims, build up in and leach into soil and groundwater.” Further, the company paid for independent tests of Roundup that resulted in finding the product benign and in at least two cases, lab executives were indicted and convicted of fraud and/or data falsification in their testing of agrochemicals.
The lawsuit states, “Since Monsanto began selling Roundup, the company has misrepresented its safety… Monsanto knew that glyphosate could pose significant risks to human health, including a risk of causing cancer. This lawsuit seeks to hold Monsanto accountable for this misconduct…Monsanto’s global success at marketing and selling Roundup was accompanied by a focused campaign of deception, aimed at deflecting and undermining both scientific and anecdotal reports that the herbicide was a danger to humans and animals and would, directly contrary to the company’s claims, build up in and leach into soil and groundwater. “ The complaint asserts that Monsanto sponsored allegedly independent tests of Roundup that, not surprisingly, found the product benign; in at least two cases, executives of those labs were indicted and convicted of fraud and/or data falsification in their testing of agrochemicals.
Current research indicates that non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) can have a latency period (the time between initial exposure to a carcinogen and diagnosis of the disease) of 10 to 20 years or more. And a study in the British Journal of Cancer gives the 5-year relative survival rate for NHL in England and Wales at about 46% for patients diagnosed in the late 1980s, and has improved by about 4% every 5 years since. NHL is a cancer with long-established links to glyphosate in which abnormal growth of white blood cells can produce tumors throughout the body.
In a press release, Langford’s attorney said, “Over the years since Roundup was introduced, Monsanto appears to have spent as much time and energy on misinformation, denial, and concealment of the facts as it did on the development of this weed-killer. After decades of distortions about its star money-making product, the company is finally considering changes to the labels on Roundup. Unfortunately, that is far too little and too late for many people, including Michael Langford.”
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Langford seeks damages for pain and suffering and physical impairment, as well as punitive and exemplary damages and other expenses. The mass tort complaint is Case number CGC21592238 was filed in the Superior Court of California for San Francisco County on June 15.