Bayer’s Monsanto, Sued by Thousands, Faces New Kind of Claim

Bloomberg writers Lydia Mulvany and Deena Shanker reported yesterday that, “Monsanto Co. has been sued by thousands of farmers and others who blame their cancers on its massively popular Roundup weedkiller. Now Germany’s Bayer AG, which bought the agriculture giant last year, faces a claim that it deceived home gardeners about Roundup’s impact on their gut bacteria and their health.

“The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court in Kansas City, Missouri, claims that labels on products such as Roundup’s Weed & Grass Killer falsely assured consumers that they target an enzyme not found ‘in people or pets.’

“According to the suit — which names three consumers as plaintiffs seeking unspecified monetary damages and class action status — Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate attacks an enzyme also found in the beneficial intestinal bacteria of humans and some animals.”

The Bloomberg writers noted that, “The Roundup products at issue are distributed by Scotts Miracle-Gro, which is also named as a defendant. Two other suits, in Wisconsin and Washington, D.C., are based on similar arguments but aren’t class actions.

“Daniel Childs, a spokesman for Bayer, said in an emailed statement that the lawsuit is without merit and that the company ‘looks forward to defending the case on the merits.’ A similar suit filed by the same lawyers in Wisconsin was denied class certification because they failed to prove the intended class members had even seen the labels, Bayer said.”

Yesterday’s article also stated that, “In August, a jury in a California state court awarded $289 million in damages, later reduced to $78 million, to Dewayne Lee Johnson, a former school groundskeeper who claimed Roundup significantly contributed to his terminal non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The company’s share price plunged, erasing $16 billion in market value in a week.

Bayer has said that U.S. courts will ultimately find that glyphosate isn’t responsible for Johnson’s cancer. Monsanto has said for decades that glyphosate is safe.”

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