The latest news about the Roundup lawsuit has been a mixed bag. Some claim that Roundup is a carcinogen while others say that Monsanto and Bayer are trying to downplay the risks. Then again, we have heard Monsanto’s defense that it is an agricultural herbicide. In a nutshell, they’re trying to hide the truth while Bayer and Monsanto claim to be doing nothing wrong. And they’re also violating the free speech rights of the people.
Roundup is a carcinogen
Bayer AG, the original maker of Roundup, is appealing the verdict that determined that Roundup is a carcinogen. In court, plaintiffs claimed that Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other health problems. In addition, Bayer lost three $2 billion jury verdicts and was ordered to pursue mediation in over 11,000 cases. While Bayer is not required to admit liability, it did state that it will appeal the verdict.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified glyphosate as a carcinogen after years of research linking the herbicide to non-Hodgkins lymphoma, cancer originating in the lymphatic system. Though the IARC has issued warnings about Roundup’s potential for cancer, Bayer has defended its product, saying that there is no evidence to support the claims.
Monsanto is trying to downplay the dangers of glyphosate
A recent unsealed paper by a scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contradicts Monsanto’s claims about Roundup’s safety. It quotes several studies conducted by Monsanto but fails to disclose the company’s involvement. Nevertheless, Heydens’ paper concludes that Roundup poses no health risk to humans. New York Medical College has investigated the paper and found no evidence that it was ghostwritten.
To avoid paying compensation, Monsanto has employed aggressive tactics to intimidate farmers and win settlements. The company has allegedly turned up at farmers’ homes and fields, pressuring them to sign contracts and access private records. Farmers have compared this aggressive approach to the actions of the Gestapo and the Mafia.
Despite mounting evidence, Monsanto has sought to minimize the dangers of glyphosate by denying that it causes cancer. The company’s executives have even attempted to suppress evidence that suggests glyphosate is harmful. They have even attempted to pressure scientists to write articles that would downplay the risks of glyphosate.
It’s a violation of free-speech protections
A recent ruling by U.S. District Court Judge William B. Shubb found that California’s proposed action to require Bayer to display a warning on Roundup bottles is a violation of free-speech protections. Currently, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment lists glyphosate as a carcinogen. This ruling seems to contradict both California’s OSHA and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
Among the many arguments in favor of the lawsuit are the tech companies’ claims that President Trump violated his First Amendment rights. The lawsuits argue that the company was working with the government to suppress free speech and that the law was intended for a different purpose. But in reality, the law was written decades ago, before social media became ubiquitous. President Trump and other world leaders have used social media extensively to express themselves, promote their actions, and inform the public.
The Court also acknowledged that schools have a legitimate interest in regulating off-campus conduct. Justice Stephen Breyer cited three distinguishing characteristics between public school free speech protections of free speech for public school students. But, there are still limits to the speech of public school officials online. The Court noted that the defendants have a broader interest in controlling what students do off-campus.
It’s a violation of Bayer’s free-speech rights
The proposed settlement between Bayer and the plaintiffs could lead to several hard questions. Those who are not present at the trial could be forced to cede the issue of causation to a panel of scientists who weigh evidence differently from juries. However, Bayer’s settlement could lead to another thorny issue: the plaintiffs’ right to present their case to a jury.
One case that could impact Bayer’s free-speech freedom is a settlement agreement for nearly $11 billion in the Roundup multi-district litigation. It covers the current cases, including 95 percent of the lawsuits already set for trial. One-third of the settlement is set aside for future plaintiffs. It’s unclear if Bayer will appeal this ruling, but the ruling may be in its favor.