Monsanto supports a motion to centralize 21 lawsuits pending in 14 district courts into the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. Monsanto is accused of failing to warn that Roundup causes cancer.
Lawyers want the cases centralized in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL), which is like a class action lawsuit, but each case remains independent. The advantage is that lawyers can coordinate discovery, trials, and settlements.
The number of lawsuits has grown steadily since last year, when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said Roundup was a “probable human carcinogen.”
Lawsuits have been filed by farmers, farm-workers, and backyard gardeners who developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after being routinely exposed to Roundup.
The lawyers requested Illinois because its central location is convenient and “no other forum has a stronger interest” in the outcome. Illinois is the nation’s top soybean producer and 2nd-largest corn producer — and nearly every acre is sprayed with Roundup.
Roundup has been on the market since the 1970s, but its use skyrocketed when Monsanto introduced “Roundup Ready” crops in the 1990s.
Monsanto is the largest seed company in the world and earns billions of dollars per year selling seeds that are genetically engineered to resist Roundup, meaning farmers can spray it on whole fields to kill weeds.