EPA faces court over backing of Monsanto’s controversial crop system

The US Environmental Protection Agency is due in federal court on Tuesday to answer allegations that it broke the law to support a Monsanto system that has triggered “widespread” crop damage over the last few summers and continues to threaten farms across the country.

As farmers prepare to plant a new season of key American food crops, farmer and consumer groups are asking the ninth circuit court of appeals in San Francisco to review and overturn the EPA’s approval of a Monsanto herbicide made with a chemical called dicamba.

Read More

Revealed: Monsanto predicted crop system would damage US farms

The US agriculture giant Monsanto and the German chemical giant BASF were aware for years that their plan to introduce a new agricultural seed and chemical system would probably lead to damage on many US farms, internal documents seen by the Guardian show.

Risks were downplayed even while they planned how to profit off farmers who would buy Monsanto’s new seeds just to avoid damage, according to documents unearthed during a recent successful $265m lawsuit brought against both firms by a Missouri farmer.

The documents, some of which date back more than a decade, also reveal how Monsanto opposed some third-party product testing in order to curtail the generation of data that might have worried regulators.

And in some of the internal emails, employees appear to joke about sharing “voodoo science” and hoping to stay “out of jail”.

Read More

Bayer said to be reneging on Roundup settlement deals as virus closes courthouses

Bayer AG is reneging on negotiated settlements with several U.S. law firms representing thousands of plaintiffs who claim exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicides caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, sources involved in the litigation said on Friday.

The reversal comes as U.S. courts are closed to the public because of the spreading coronavirus, eliminating the specter of another Roundup cancer trial in the near future.

Read More

Shareholder files suit against Bayer over “disastrous” Monsanto acquisition

A California shareholder of Bayer AG on Friday filed a lawsuit against the companies’ top executives claiming they breached their duty of “prudence” and “loyalty” to the company and investors by buying Monsanto Co. in 2018, an acquisition the suit claims has “inflicted billions of dollars of damages” on the company.

Plaintiff Rebecca R. Haussmann, trustee of the Konstantin S. Haussmann Trust, is the sole named plaintiff in the suit, which was filed in New York County Supreme Court.  The named defendants include Bayer CEO Werner Baumann, who orchestrated the $63 billion Monsanto purchase, and Bayer Chairman Werner Wenning, who announced last month he was stepping down from the company earlier than planned. The suit claims that Wenning’s decision came after Bayer improperly obtained a copy of the then-draft shareholder lawsuit “through corporate espionage.”

Read More

Missouri Farmer Wins $265 Million Verdict Against Monsanto

A Missouri peach farmer notched a rare courtroom victory this month, defeating the former Monsanto Co. and chemical giant BASF in the first of what is expected to be a series of court fights over claims that the companies are responsible for pesticide damage that has wiped out orchards, gardens, and organic farm fields in multiple states.

Read More

Science shouldn’t be for sale – we need reform to industry-funded studies to keep people safe

Not again. News out of Europe last week revealed that more than 20 scientific studies submitted to regulators to prove the safety of the popular weedkilling chemical glyphosate came from a large German laboratory that has been accused of fraud and other wrongdoing.

The findings come amid global debate over whether or not glyphosate causes cancer and other health problems and if regulators and chemical companies proclaiming the chemical’s safety actually have credible science on their side.

Amid a government investigation into the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology (LPT), investigators representing three European non-profit consumer advocacy groups are raising concerns about the validity of the glyphosate studies generated by the Hamburg facility. No significant concerns with glyphosate were found, according to the tests, three of which looked for glyphosate-related mutagenicity. Monsanto and other chemical companies needed those studies and others to submit to regulators in order to obtain re-approval to sell glyphosate herbicide products in Europe.

Read More

It’s Farmer v. Monsanto in Court Fight Over Dicamba Herbicide

A showdown is underway in the Midwest as the owner of a large Missouri peach farm seeks to hold the former Monsanto Co. accountable for millions of dollars in damage to his crops—losses the farmer claims resulted from a corporate strategy to induce farmers to buy high-priced specialty seeds and chemicals.

The trial got underway on January 27 in US District Court in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Farmer Bill Bader, who has grown peaches in Missouri’s “Bootheel” region for 40 years, is seeking more than $20 million. The lawsuit alleges that Bader Farms lost more than 30,000 trees due to Monsanto’s actions, in collaboration with German chemical giant BASF, to profit from a new cropping system involving genetically engineered seeds designed to tolerate dousing of the herbicide dicamba.

Read More

Formulations of glyphosate-based weedkillers are toxic, tests show

Tests by a US government agency on common weedkilling products made with the chemical glyphosate have found some formulations sold to the public to be genotoxic, meaning they are damaging to human DNA.

But the government scientists at the National Toxicology Program (NTP) say the danger probably lies with added ingredients in the products – not glyphosate.

Read More

Stakes are high with two Roundup cancer trials starting amid settlement talks

t’s been nearly five years since international cancer scientists classified a popular weed-killing chemical as probably carcinogenic, news that triggered an explosion of lawsuits brought by cancer patients who blame the former chemical maker Monsanto Co. for their suffering.

Tens of thousands of U.S. plaintiffs – some lawyers involved in the litigation say over 100,000 – claim Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and other glyphosate-based weed killers caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, while Monsanto spent years hiding the risks from consumers.

The first three trials went badly for Monsanto and its German owner Bayer AG as outraged juries awarded over $2.3 billion in damages to four plaintiffs. Trial judges lowered the jury awards to a total of roughly $190 million, and all are under appeal.

Two new trials – one in California and one in Missouri – are now in the process of selecting juries. Opening statements are scheduled for Friday for the Missouri trial, which is taking place in St. Louis, Monsanto’s former home town. The judge in that case is allowing testimony to be televised and broadcast by Courtroom View Network.

Bayer has been desperate to avoid the spotlight of more trials and bring an end to the saga that has bludgeoned the pharmaceutical giant’s market capitalization, and exposed to the world Monsanto’s internal playbook for manipulating science, media and regulators.

It looks like that end could be coming soon.

Read More

Anticipation Builds For Settlement of Roundup Cancer Claims

Anticipation is building around the belief that there could soon be an announcement of at least a partial settlement of U.S. lawsuits pitting thousands of U.S. cancer patients against Monsanto Co. over allegations the company hid the health risks of its Roundup herbicides.

Investors in Bayer AG, the German company that bought Monsanto in 2018,  are keeping a close eye on the status of three trials currently still on the docket to get underway this month. Six trials were initially set to take place in January, but three have recently been “postponed.” Sources say the postponements are part of the process of obtaining an overall settlement with several plaintiffs’ attorneys who have large numbers of cases pending.

Read More