The Monsanto Company is now a part of Bayer, but its name is still in the news on a weekly basis, ranging from Roundup-cancer trials involving its best selling herbicide ingredient, glyphosate, to battles for farmers’ rights in South America involving genetically modified seeds, and much more.
Now, the company’s former chairman and CEO, Hugh Grant, is back in the limelight, as it has been revealed that he will be forced to testify in person at a St. Louis-area trial set for January, the non-profit organization U.S. Right to Know has reported.
Grant’s appearance will be part of litigation brought by a cancer-stricken woman who claims her disease was caused by exposure to the company’s best-selling Roundup herbicide. The woman, plaintiff Sharlean Gordon, had a trial originally scheduled for August, but it was delayed as part of an effort to foster settlement talks between Bayer and lawyers for tens of thousands of plaintiffs who are now suing Monsanto with claims similar to hers, USRTK reported.
Two other trials involving children diagnosed with cancer were also recently postponed due to settlement talks.
Gordon’s trial is expected to begin January 27 in St. Louis County Circuit Court.
“She’s been through hell,” St. Louis attorney Eric Holland, part of a team representing Gordon, told Environmental Health News.
“She’s horribly injured. The human toll here is tremendous. I think Sharlean is really going to put a face on what Monsanto’s done to people.”
According to Bayer’s estimates, more than 42,000 plaintiffs are alleging exposure to Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides caused them or their loved ones to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Monsanto and Bayer say that their farming methods using genetically engineered crops, glyphosate and other synthetic chemicals, and monoculture crops is needed to feed the world, but opponents say that these methods are harmful.
While the U.S. government safety bodies have approved glyphosate saying it is safe, the World Health Organization’s top cancer research body, the IARC, declared the herbicide a “probably human carcinogen” in spring 2015, and many countries around the world including Germany, France and Thailand most recently have handed down bans or restrictions on the herbicide.
Monsanto CEO’s Attorneys Fight Back Against Subpoena
Despite the call for Grant to appear, the former Monsanto CEO’s attorneys have been fighting the subpoena, saying that he is not a scientist or regulatory expert and that he has already provided information in deposition testimony.
Grant also plans to be out of the country on February 9.
But a special master appointed to the case ruled on December 5 that Grant was not entitled to an order that would have prevented him from being subpoenaed.
“Mr. Grant appeared for interviews on public radio representing that Roundup is not a carcinogen; in earnings calls for investors Mr. Grant personally responded that the classification of glyphosate as a probable carcinogen was ‘junk science;’ in 2016 Mr. Grant personally lobbied the EPA Administrator and the Agricultural Committee Chair of the topic of glyphosate,” the special master’s order states.
“Although Mr. Grant does not have scientific knowledge that doubtless will be a significant component to this lawsuit, he was CEO of Monsanto for 15 years and took part in presentations, discussions, interviews and other appearances for Monsanto as CEO in which the topics of Roundup and glyphosate were explained, discussed and defended,” Special Master Thomas Prebil said in his decision.
Gordon said she developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after using Roundup herbicides for 25 years at her residence in South Pekin, Illinois and suffered extensive debilitation due to her disease. Her stepfather, who also used Roundup at the family home, died of cancer.
The case is being taken from a larger case filed in July 2017 on behalf of more than 75 plaintiffs, and Gordon’s case is the first of that group to go to trial.
For more information on the case and other Roundup lawsuits including the pending appeal by terminally ill groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson, check out U.S. Right to Know’s full article here.