Berks County Round Up Cancer Attorneys
Are you looking for a top rated Berks County Round Up Cancer Attorney?
Look no further. If you have developed non-hodgkins lymphoma or cancer which you believe were caused by Round Up you have come to the right place.Top rated Berks County dangerous product and consumer attorney, Gary Brod has handled over 311 drug and products cases with successful results. If you think you have been harmed by Round Up, an attorney must file a lawsuit against the manufacturers of the weed killer in order to obtain the compensation you deserve. Even if you never used the weed killer Roundup weed killer in your yard, you have been exposed to it in some way. Everyone has. Those most at risk are those who work on farms and have continued exposure to the the toxic chemical glyphosate in the weedkiller.
But while many exposures are too small to cause serious health issues, constant or deep exposure to the toxic chemicals in Roundup can cause some of the worst forms of cancer known to man.
The dangers were also known to Monsanto, the company that produced Roundup. The company aggressively marketed it so that it permeated every aspect of American life, sold it for ridiculous profits, and refused to tell anyone about the dangers of Roundup so they could keep selling it. That is why Monsanto and Bayer – the company who bought Monsanto in 2018 for $66 billion – are being sued by thousands of people who have gotten cancer from using Roundup.
Roundup is Everywhere
Roundup can be found at any hardware store in the United States, often in the lawn care section next to hedging tools, potted plants, and topsoil. For most people, the only form of Roundup that they will see is the consumer product – the small spray bottle or the larger tub with the corded nozzle. This is more than enough for spraying errant weeds that crop up between patio bricks or cracks in the driveway.
Most of the Roundup that is used, though, is on the farm and its use has been widespread in Berks County, Pennsylvania There, it is dredged on crops and farmland in such industrial quantities that some people spend the entire workday dealing with Roundup.
In between the two are groundskeepers and landscapers who always have Roundup handy for the countless times they need to control certain weeds.
The rampant use of Roundup cannot be understated. To begin to fathom just how integral Roundup has become in the United States, consider this: Monsanto's infamous “genetically modified” crops – the “GMOs” that have gotten so much bad publicity in recent years – have been modified precisely so they can be planted before farmers spray their fields with Roundup to control weeds and other unwanted growths. These crops are trademarked “RoundupReady,” and have become a staple on farms in America and across the world.
Because these crops are sprouting when crop dusters drop Roundup on them, the chemicals in Roundup get taken in by the crops. Trace amounts of Roundup persist in the tissues of crops all the way through the harvesting, packaging, selling, and eating.
It is safe to say that most of us have been exposed to Roundup at this point.
The Toxic Chemicals That Make Roundup
If Roundup were not toxic, exposure to it would not be dangerous. Unfortunately, it is an herbicide: Its role is literally to kill living organisms.
To do this, Roundup contains glyphosate, a molecule that Monsanto created in 1970, and several other chemicals. Together, these chemicals interrupt a plant's shikimate pathway – a process by which enzymes in a plant form amino acids to keep the plant healthy and growing – effectively starving the plant to death.
In its marketing for Roundup, Monsanto touted the fact that Roundup's toxicity targets the shikimate pathway, a biological process that humans and other mammals do not have. In the years after Roundup was developed and widely used, many medical researchers agreed and decided that there was no way Roundup could pose a threat to humans.
Roundup Connected to Cancer, Particularly Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Recent years have seen the medical community take a different turn. This change in thought culminated in 2017, when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization (WHO), took a bold stance against Roundup by classifying the chemical glyphosate as a Class 2A carcinogen. This category is reserved for chemicals that were “probably carcinogenic to humans,” meaning they could cause cancer.
Worse, the IARC determined that there was enough evidence to announce a “positive association” between the chemical glyphosate and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a deadly type of blood cancer.
The news was welcome news to many proponents of organic foods and came as a shock to some governments, which had been convinced by Monsanto that the pesticide was safe. In January 2019, the country of France banned the sale and use of Roundup.
Monsanto has flatly denied the connection between its Roundup product and cancer. Monsanto, though, had a financial incentive to do so: the weed killer totaled an estimated 10% of the company's profits, while Roundup Ready crop seeds amounted to an estimated half of its income.
Nevertheless, when Monsanto was bought by the pharmaceutical giant Bayer in 2018, the news that glyphosate and Roundup had been called a carcinogen and linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma likely lowered the sale price down to the final amount of $66 billion.
Lawsuits Filed Against Bayer Over Roundup Cancer
Soon after the IARC labeled Roundup and glyphosate as a Class 2A carcinogen, lawsuits began getting filed against Monsanto and then Bayer for their failure to warn consumers about the dangers associated with Roundup. Without warning labels on the bottles of Roundup saying that it could lead to cancer or non-Hodgkin lymphoma, people had been using it without wearing adequate protection and in ways that were putting themselves and their families in danger.
The risks were especially severe for industrial workers, farmers, and groundskeepers who had to deal with Roundup every day on the job. Because their bosses had not been told of Roundup's risks, these workers were rarely provided with protective equipment. If they asked, they were frequently told that Roundup was safe.
So many lawsuits were filed against Monsanto and Bayer by people who had developed cancer and lymphoma after Roundup exposure that the court system had to take action to avoid getting swamped with the lawsuits. Courts created a multidistrict litigation (MDL), a legal procedure similar to a class action that consolidates all of the Roundup claims into one federal district court for the pretrial portion of the case. This means all of the Roundup claims would be put together for:
- Discovery and evidence gathering
- Expert depositions
- Bayer and Monsanto's interrogatories
- Motions to dismiss
- Summary judgment motions
- Evidentiary motions to exclude certain details
The court that received the Roundup multidistrict litigation was the Northern District of California. According to court records, no fewer than 899 lawsuits were consolidated in that multidistrict litigation on April 15, 2019. One distinction from MDLs and class action lawsuits, however, is that each case keeps their own attorney – there is not one attorney representing all the cases.
Thousands more Roundup lawsuits have been progressing individually outside of this multidistrict litigation. Many of these claims are moving through state court rather than federal court.
Qualifying Plaintiffs for Roundup Litigation
Because it consolidates so many cases into one process, the multidistrict litigation relies on each lawsuit having the same or similar questions of fact. If that was not the case, then the evidence obtained during the pretrial procedures in the multidistrict litigation could apply directly to some cases, but only tangentially to others.
Only some victims of Roundup, therefore, are eligible for joining the ongoing multidistrict litigation.
The victims who qualify for MDL lawsuits are those who have:
- Proof that they used Roundup in large quantities in the past;
- Have developed cancer or non-Hodgkin lymphoma since using Roundup; and
- Did not have cancer or non-Hodgkin lymphoma before using Roundup
In the cases where a qualifying plaintiff has passed away, often due to cancer or lymphoma developed because of Roundup, the victim's family members can stand in for their rights by filing a wrongful death claim on their loved one's behalf. This wrongful death claim could join the multidistrict litigation against Bayer and Monsanto.
If the plaintiff dies from cancer during the litigation, then the lawsuit converts to a survival claim and is controlled by the decedent's estate representative.
Defendants in the Roundup Litigation
While Roundup was originally invented by Monsanto, Bayer purchased Monsanto in 2018. Part of that deal was that Bayer would assume the liabilities associated with Monsanto's Roundup product. Therefore, even though Bayer had no part in developing or marketing Roundup, it has voluntarily stepped into Monsanto's shoes for the Roundup litigation as a part of its purchase price for the company.
Importantly, Monsanto's patent for the chemical composition that makes Roundup expired in the year 2000. Since then, other companies have been allowed to make and sell “generic” versions of Roundup.
However, those generic versions of the herbicide are not included in the lawsuit against Monsanto and Bayer over the cancerous potential of Roundup.
Causes of Action in the Lawsuits
The lawsuits against Monsanto and Bayer in the multidistrict litigation all claim that the defendants' actions caused the plaintiffs' injuries and seek appropriate compensation. Because those injuries were sustained due to a product – in this case, Roundup – that did not act in the way it was advertised, these personal injury lawsuits fall into the subcategory of products liability lawsuits.
Products liability lawsuits can be based on any of the three following problems:
- The product was defectively designed so it would cause foreseeable injuries even when made properly.
- The product was defectively manufactured, so the particular product was made in a way that put people at risk.
- The product was made correctly, but the advertising was defective because it did not warn people of particular dangers associated with the product
Roundup lawsuits are grounded in the last defect of products liability: the advertising associated with Roundup did not warn consumers of the potential for getting cancer or lymphoma if they used it too much or were over-exposed to Roundup. Without a warning or any indication whatsoever that Roundup could lead to cancer, people who used Roundup did not feel the need to take precautions before using it. Instead, they used it like they would use a completely safe product, drastically increasing the odds that they would suffer so much exposure to the toxic qualities of Roundup that they would develop a serious medical condition.
By failing to warn consumers of the potential for developing cancer, Monsanto and Bayer put people who used Roundup in serious jeopardy. Worse, those same people would have no idea of the risks they were facing, leaving them powerless to protect themselves.
Current Cases and Specific Allegations
The multidistrict litigation has progressed to the point where bellwether trials have been selected and conducted. These trials take carefully selected lawsuits from the multidistrict litigation and move them past the pretrial procedures and all the way through a jury trial. Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the multidistrict litigation and for the defendants use these bellwether trials to get an idea of how well their arguments persuade a jury, whether the jury is likely to find for the victims or the defendants, and how much a jury is likely to award the plaintiffs.
So far, a couple of bellwether trials have gone through to verdict. The results have been absolutely devastating for Monsanto and Bayer.
In one bellwether trial, Hardeman v. Monsanto, the jury was unanimous in its determination that Roundup was “a substantial factor” in the victim's non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The decision was particularly bad for Bayer and Monsanto because this particular case involved a victim who was neither a farmer nor a groundskeeper. Rather than suffering industrial-level exposure to Roundup, he was merely a property owner in California who had regularly used Roundup for 26 years to control poison oak on his property. Granted, his Roundup use was considerable, but the decision shows that juries are willing to hold the pharmaceutical companies accountable for even residential exposures as well as industrial ones.
The outcome of that bellwether trial came soon after another lawsuit outside of the multidistrict litigation reached a massive verdict. In that case, a 46-year-old groundskeeper for a school district had developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma from his constant use of Roundup to contain weeds on school grounds. His case had been expedited through the court system because doctors did not expect him to live very long. The jury in that case, after hearing the evidence, awarded the groundskeeper $289 million – $39 million in compensation plus $250 million in punitive damages.
The driving forces behind some of these jury decisions have been evidence that Monsanto and Bayer knew that Roundup posed a threat to consumers and not only failed to warn people of the danger, but actively covered it up.
For example, Roundup exposure can happen through dermal absorption – the chemicals in Roundup seep through the skin and into the bloodstream. This is why non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a relatively rare and often fatal type of blood cancer, is such a common injury in the Roundup lawsuits.
Part of Monsanto's testing of Roundup had included the dermal absorption rates of the chemicals used in Roundup. This testing involved taking human skin from cadavers or removed from skin grafting procedures and spraying Roundup on the samples in the lab. Testimony in the trials, however, revealed that Monsanto told the laboratory conducting the dermal absorption tests for Roundup to bake the skin samples before spraying Roundup on them. When the resulting absorption rates were next to zero, Monsanto reported them as a sign that Roundup did not get absorbed by the skin, and was, therefore, safe to use.
Other indications that Monsanto covered up the dangers of Roundup were rampant as well, from ghostwriting scientific papers in major medical journals that “proved” Roundup was safe to “leaking” information to media outlets about the benefits of using Roundup.
Compensation Sought in the Lawsuits
The primary goal in the lawsuits, as with any personal injury lawsuit, is to recover compensation for the victims of Monsanto and Bayer's conduct. This compensation includes financial payment for a Berks County victim's:
- Medical expenses, including foreseeable expenses in the future
- Wages lost during the recovery process
- Reduced earning capacity in the future, due to cancer or lymphoma caused by Roundup
- Physical pain of a debilitating disease and traumatizing treatment regime
- Mental anguish and suffering of knowing there was no way of avoiding the often fatal injuries
- Loss of consortium and companionship suffered by the victim's family
In addition to compensation, though, the lawsuits against Monsanto and Bayer also seek punitive damages. These are meant to punish the companies for covering up the dangers of Roundup and hold them accountable for their actions. As some of the early verdicts indicate, juries have found it necessary to include steep punitive damage amounts against the companies for what they have done.
A Limited Time to File a Lawsuit
Unfortunately, Pennsylvania's statute of limitations requires that products liability lawsuits be filed within two years of the injury. Because it is impossible to know exactly when Roundup exposure triggered non-Hodgkin lymphoma or caused cancer, the statute of limitations gets tolled or delayed until you discover that you have developed one of these medical conditions.
Therefore, once you have discovered that you have developed cancer, you have two years to file a lawsuit against Monsanto and Bayer for your losses or join the existing multidistrict litigation and fight for the compensation that you need and deserve.
Berks County Products Liability Lawyers at The Brod Law Firm
The personal injury and products liability lawyers at The Brod Law Firm in Reading Pennsylvania can help. Contact them online or call their law office at 888-HELPWIN (888-435-7946) to get the legal representation you need to recover the financial compensation you deserve for the terrible disease you have suffered. You will not have to pay anything to participate in this litigation unless you receive compensation for your injuries. You may call us locally anytime in Reading at 610-375-9009 or contact us online for a free consultation.