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Philadelphia’s Roundup Lawsuits get Trial Dates and New York Settlement

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The first of Monsanto’s Roundup Lawsuits in Philadelphia are scheduled for trials this fall, and Monsanto and Bayer settle with New York

Philadelphia, PAThe first Philadelphia Monsanto Roundup bellwether case is set to begin jury selection in early October, a decision that plaintiffs’ attorney say is good for everyone involved. And in June, Bayer and Monsanto agreed to settle with New York for close to $7 million.

According to the case management order in February, there are 12 cases selected for trial dates. Judge Abbe Fletman of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas slated Jury selection for the second case  to commence in November and the remaining ten cases will be set in future orders. Generally, plaintiffs in the mass tort claim that exposure to Bayer/Monsanto Roundup weedkiller caused their diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The order assigned each of six plaintiffs attorneys a trial date for their earliest-filed case, and a second case designated as a backup to replace it if necessary, reported Judge Fletman in June ordered a set four additional cases to serve as second backups. Plaintiff Ernest Caranci is first in the lineup of Philadelphia Roundup cases to go to trial. Should this case not go to trial, the second case with plaintiff Debra Purnell would take its place, a decision made after Monsanto moved Caranci’s lawsuit to federal court. 

Caranci and Purnell are just two of 200 cases in Philadelphia’s Roundup mass tort with many more yet to be filed. According to plaintiffs’ attorneys this is an efficient system. It has been set to avoid delay because each trial date has a backup that will pretty much guarantee a trial, barring exceptional circumstances. 

June 2023 was a busy month in court for Roundup’s manufacturers. According to New York Attorney General Letitia James, Bayer and Monsanto agreed upon close to a $7 million settlement with New York over misleading advertising allegations about the safety of their Roundup weedkiller products containing glyphosate. The settlement concluded a three-year investigation into the company. The claims were in violation of state advertising laws and a previous settlement made with Monsanto in the ’90s concerning Roundup’s safety. The $6.9 millon will be used to mitigate the impact of harmful pesticides on pollinators and aquatic life.

“Pesticides can cause serious harm to the health of our environment, and pose a deadly threat to wildlife, including pollinators and other species vital to agriculture,” James said in a statement. “It is essential that pesticide companies — even and especially the most powerful ones — are honest with consumers about the dangers posed by their products so that they can be used responsibly.”  According to a 2022 report by The Empire State Native Pollinator Study, researchers found at least 40% and as many as 60% of native New York pollinators were at risk of disappearing, which could threaten future crops and wildflowers statewide, according to the attorney general’s office.

Bayer and Monsanto are required to stop and remove any advertisements that represent the product as being “safe, non-toxic, harmless, or free from risk to pollinators and other wildlife. Reuters reported that Bayer was “pleased to settle” and noted the attorney general’s probe didn’t uncover any new scientific conclusions.

Also in June, the Arkansas Supreme Court rejected Monsanto’s attempt to reverse a judge’s order requiring the former CEO of Bayer to testify in a Roundup NHL lawsuit. The justices stated in their ruling that Monsanto’s request for a writ of certiorari is not an appropriate means to dispute a discovery order unless there’s been a clear and gross abuse of discretion, or there is a lack of jurisdiction.

The court’s order for Baumann’s testimony was based on the idea that as the head of Bayer, he would have unique insights into the company’s operations. While Monsanto argued this order misinterpreted the law, the Arkansas Supreme Court disagreed, rejecting Monsanto’s request for other extraordinary writs and noting that discovery issues fall within a circuit court’s jurisdiction.


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