Advertising Agency That Marketed Roundup Target of Lawsuits

Bryce Gray reported last week at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Online that, “A fresh round of lawsuits against the herbicide Roundup also target a new locally based defendant: St. Louis advertising firm Osborn Barr, which marketed the product for years.

“The 231 cases filed last week in the 22nd Circuit Court in St. Louis are among the latest to emerge against Monsanto, the Creve Coeur-based agribusiness company that developed the weedkiller and is listed as a co-defendant with Osborn Barr. The filings echo hundreds of other active cases alleging that glyphosate, Roundup’s active ingredient, is carcinogenic and tied to cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma — an association Monsanto strongly disputes and that is also the topic of competing findings of scientific groups assessing cancer risk.

“While existing lawsuits focus on holding Monsanto liable for cancer allegedly linked to glyphosate, the inclusion of the advertising agency that helped market Roundup is a different approach in the legal battle, according to the prominent environmental attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is working with a Los Angeles law office, Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, on the cases.”

The article indicated that, “The filings on behalf of 136 plaintiffs argue that for two decades, Osborn Barr represented Roundup as a product that created ‘no unreasonable risks to human health or the environment.’ The firm stopped marketing the product in 2012.

“‘It was integral to the marketing of glyphosate,’ Kennedy said of the ad agency. ‘There was no way for our clients to understand the risk they were taking because of the deception of Monsanto and Osborn & Barr.'”

Mr. Gray explained that, “Osborn Barr declined to comment on the matter, citing the ongoing nature of the legal cases. Scott Partridge, Monsanto’s vice president of global strategy, said the arguments seeking to implicate Roundup’s marketers felt ‘contrived’ and that Monsanto’s policy has long been to put all ads through a “rigorous process” to ensure accuracy.”

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