The chemical conglomerate Monsanto, known both famously and infamously for its weed-killing product Round-Up, is hoping a judge in California will decide that the scientific evidence related to the claims of numerous plaintiffs against Monsanto is inadmissible.
The lawsuits stem from a 2015 finding by a World Health Organization-affiliated International Agency for Research on Cancer that the main ingredient in Round-up, glyphosate, is a possible human carcinogen, making people who regularly use Round-Up more likely to be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Since that finding, numerous other research agencies have disagreed with the results, with heavyweights such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institutes of Health concluding that glyphosate is not a human carcinogen and is instead safe to use in accordance with directions.
The judge, who is presiding over 300 lawsuits, is spending a week hearing testimony from experts across the glyphosate opinion spectrum and will render a decision about whether there is valid scientific evidence related to the claims of plaintiffs and glyphosate’s cancer-causing side effects. If the judge determines the evidence is not valid, the claims of these plaintiffs have a very low likelihood of succeeding.
It is important to note that the judge is not deciding on the validity of the claims, rather, he is deciding whether the scientific evidence that the plaintiffs want to present is valid – meaning he is examining whether the claims have been tested, reviewed, and are accepted in the scientific community.
This evidence is crucial because, in any claim for personal injury related to dangerous products, there must be a connection between the injury claimed and the product itself, and the plaintiffs must be able to show the manufacturer knew of the dangerous nature of the product and chose to not inform consumers of that danger.
There are certainly other issues that stem from a claim like this such as whether the product was used according to directions, whether it was reasonable for the plaintiff to think there was no risk, and whether the plaintiff assumed the risk in using this product but those are questions that come into play after this determination.