• Matt Leckman

Next Monsanto Roundup Cancer Trial Set for 2019

Over the last several years, thousands of consumers exposed to Monsanto's market-leading weed killer, Roundup, have filed lawsuits alleging that exposure to the product has caused non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphocytes (a type of white blood cells) that originates in the lymphatic system. Since 2016, many of these claims have been filed and consolidated into a federal Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) , In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2741). Judge Vince Chhabria MDL, an Obama appointee, presides over the MDL, which is venued in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Earlier this year, a state-court jury in San Francisco entered a verdict in favor of Plaintiff Dewayne Johnson, finding that Roundup had caused his cancer and awarding him $289 million in damages ($39 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages). Although the trial court later slashed the total award to $78 million, the court also denied Monsanto a retrial and upheld the jury's findings that the company was at fault.

Now, Judge Chhabria has set the first federal MDL "bellwether" trial to start in February 2019, with the most recent order from the court directing jury selection issues to be briefed by the end of November 2018 and setting the next hearing for early December 2018.