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Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 12802
Location: Berkeley, California

PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 1:44 pm    Post subject: Monsanto Reply with quote

Lots of news about Monsanto lately. Los Angeles sues them for gross marine contamination by PCB's and DDT, and they have lost 3 big lawsuits over the weed killer "Roundup." Just a taste of today's news:

After three verdicts by Bay Area juries awarding big damages to cancer victims who used its herbicides, the agrochemical giant Monsanto wants a judge to move the next round of federal cases out of California, citing its plaintiff-friendly laws and “highly prejudicial coverage” in news media.

Of more than 13,000 pending lawsuits nationwide by users of Roundup and other Monsanto weed killers, about 1,300 federal suits have been consolidated before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria of San Francisco. He presided over the first federal trial in March and has scheduled another case for February, with tentative plans to refer cases of several seriously ill or elderly plaintiffs to other federal courts in California.

Those plans would allow laws and legal doctrines in a single state “to distort unfairly a national litigation that spans 66 jurisdictions,” Monsanto’s lawyers said in a court filing Wednesday. They asked Chhabria instead to schedule the next federal cases in Nebraska and North Carolina, where some other plaintiffs live.

Roundup, the world’s most widely used herbicide, is not classified as hazardous by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or regulatory agencies in other countries. But the International Association for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization, classified the product’s active ingredient, glyphosate, as a probable cause of cancer in humans in 2015.

Monsanto asks court to overturn $78.5 million damage award for...
Relying on the international agency’s assessment, and arguing that Monsanto had unduly influenced the EPA, lawyers for cancer victims have won jury verdicts finding that the herbicide was a probable cause of their illnesses. Substantial damages were awarded: $289 million by a San Francisco jury for a Benicia school groundskeeper, later reduced by a judge to $78.5 million; $80 million by a jury in Chhabria’s court for a Sonoma County man, and more than $2 billion, mostly in punitive damages, by an Oakland jury for a Livermore couple.

Monsanto, a subsidiary of German pharmaceutical company Bayer AG, is appealing the verdicts. But the company told Chhabria the trials show that California laws “will not provide a representative sample from which the parties can value and evaluate the litigation” for a possible settlement.

The company cited California’s Proposition 65, a 1986 ballot measure authorizing state health officials to declare that chemicals and other products pose a risk of cancer or birth defects. The state listed glyphosate as a cancer-causing substance in 2017, although a federal judge later stopped the state from requiring Monsanto to post warning labels on the product.

Monsanto’s lawyers also said California law, which applies in the federal trials, allows juries to find that a product is a “substantial factor” of an illness, a more liberal standard than in other states; makes it easier than other states to qualify witnesses as experts; and, unlike some states, has no limits on damages for emotional distress or punitive damages.

In addition, the lawyers asserted, “California’s pool of prospective jurors is tainted by the extensive and highly prejudicial coverage in local, state and national news media of the prior three California verdicts.”

Chhabria has allowed Monsanto to decide which non-California case should be tried first, but has tentatively planned to give priority to cases pending in California, which would be governed by rulings he already has issued. Plaintiffs’ lawyers urged the judge to stay with that schedule, and noted that many other cases are pending in state courts elsewhere — including in St. Louis, where Monsanto is based.

Some California plaintiffs “need their day in court soon” because they are dying, plaintiffs’ lawyer Michael Baum said in an interview Thursday. “That should be principle No. 1.”

Bob Egelko is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @BobEgelko

Of course conservatives only support state's rights when it means banning abortion, not when it means holding corporations accountable.

Then there is contamination at White Point, off Palos Verdes, near where I learned to surf as a kid:

Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - Los Angeles County sued Monsanto Co on Thursday, seeking to force the unit of Germany’s Bayer AG to help pay for reducing PCB contamination in dozens of bodies of water.

FILE PHOTO: Logo of Bayer AG is pictured at the annual results news conference of the German drugmaker in Leverkusen, Germany February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo
The most populous U.S. county, which has about 10.1 million people, said the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in products sold by Monsanto many decades ago has caused widespread environmental contamination, forcing it to spend money to retrofit its stormwater systems and prevent further damage.

Los Angeles County said Monsanto had long concealed its knowledge that PCBs were harmful, and created a public nuisance because their presence interferes with commerce, fishing, navigation, swimming and other water-based activities.

In a statement, Bayer said it believed Los Angeles County’s lawsuit had no merit, and that it would defend itself aggressively. Bayer said in its most recent annual report that it had “meritorious defenses” against PCB-related claims.

The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court seeks compensatory and punitive damages that Scott Kuhn, a lawyer for the county, said in an interview could reach hundreds of millions of dollars.

Kuhn called PCB contamination “a big problem in our county. It’s a significant overall cost to clean that up.”

While not mentioned in the article, the contamination at White Point also included extensive areas of DDT contamination, which made it up the food chain and made fish unsafe to eat and contributed to the decline of the pelican population. Some on this forum, and pretty much everyone in the Trump administration, repeats Monsanto talking points at every opportunity. Science is overrated for some.
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Joined: 11 Nov 1993
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who's going to defend Monsanto?
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Joined: 12 Dec 1999
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Been hearing about Monsanto's evil doings for at least 20 years from the farmers on my wife's side of the family.

Pssst ... wanna yawn continuously for the next several minutes? Do a search on "big yawn images".
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