Friday, September 14, 2018


US court stays glyphosate cancer listing case

·         11 Sep 2018
·         NEWS

Gavel in front of soft focus US flag
A US federal judge has imposed an indefinite stay on litigation challenging the state of California's decision to list the herbicide, glyphosate, as a cancer-causing chemical. US District Judge William Shubb last week granted California Attorney General Xavier Becerra's request for a stay, agreeing that the litigation should be put on hold until the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issues rulings in two other cases. They could provide legal guidance on the issue of compelled disclosure requirements.
Judge Shubb said that the stay is appropriate because the legal landscape has changed since he issued a preliminary injunction in February blocking the state from requiring cancer warnings on glyphosate products until the listing dispute has been resolved.
California added glyphosate to its Proposition 65 list of cancer-causing chemicals in July 2017, relying on the UN WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer's (IARC) 2015 declaration that the herbicide was a “probable human carcinogen”. Monsanto (now owned by Bayer), the National Association of Wheat Growers and other agriculture interests filed suit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of California, questioning the dependence on the IARC declaration and arguing that warning label requirements would violate their Constitutional protections for commercial speech under the First Amendment.
Judge Shubb explained that he had issued the injunction to block the warning labels because a cancer notice for glyphosate would not be "purely factually and uncontroversial" as the "heavy weight of evidence in the record" shows that the herbicide is not a human carcinogen.
But one of the legal cases that provided guidance on how to interpret the legal standard for “purely factual and uncontroversial” was subsequently vacated by a recent US Supreme Court ruling. The Ninth Circuit is considering that case, which was brought by CTIA, the telecommunications industry’s trade group, in a bid to upend the city of Berkeley’s law requiring retailers to warn consumers of the potential radiation exposure from mobile phone usage.
The Appeals Court is also considering another compelled disclosure case involving the American Beverage Association's challenge of San Francisco's ordinance that mandates warning labels on sodas and other sugary drinks. Mr Becerra's motion for a stay cited both cases, suggesting that the glyphosate complaint should wait for the Ninth Circuit's rulings.
The plaintiffs objected and asked Judge Shubb to deny the stay request, arguing that it would be unfair to their interests to put the glyphosate dispute in limbo until the Ninth Circuit acts.
Judge Shubb disagreed and said that as the two Ninth Circuit cases concerned the interpretation and application of the “purely factual and uncontroversial” requirement, new decisions in those cases would assist the Court in deciding any motion for summary judgment filed by the parties in the glyphosate case.
“Further, the court has already granted a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the warning requirement as to glyphosate in this case,” he explained in the September 6th order. “Plaintiffs identify no prejudice from a stay other than uncertainty to their members due to further delay. This uncertainty is insufficient to outweigh the savings of time and effort for the Court and the parties that may be gained from staying this case pending further guidance from the Ninth Circuit in CTIA or American Beverage.”


Miami Beach Passes Ban on Herbicides with Glyphosate

— For Landscaping & Maintenance on all City-Owned Properties —

Today, the Miami Beach City Commission passed a resolution directing the city

manager to ban the use of herbicides containing glyphosate by all city employees and contractors in the performance of landscaping and maintenance work on all city-owned properties.

“Glyphosate is a known carcinogen, and I’m pleased my colleagues unanimously agreed that we must eliminate its usage to protect our community,” said Miami Beach Commissioner Ricky Arriola. “As a father, especially, it is extremely important to know that when children are playing on our playgrounds or at our facilities, they are not harmed by this type of chemical”.

In recent months, Monsanto, which manufacturers glyphosate-based weed killers such as Round-up and Ranger Pro, was acquired by Bayer who inherited approximately 8,000 lawsuits in both state and federal courts alleging cancer risks associated with the use of these products. In one recent case, a jury verdict of $289 million (approximately $250 million in punitive damages and $39 million in compensatory damages) was awarded to the plaintiff, a former school groundskeeper dying of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma who used Roundup at work. The plaintiff proved to a jury that exposure to Roundup was a substantial contributing factor to his cancer and that Monsanto failed to warn consumers of the product’s cancer risk.

Additionally, in a March 2015 report, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, is “probably carcinogenic in humans.”

Monday, August 13, 2018


AUG 11, 2018 — 
The Friday, August 10, 2018 #MonsantoTrial Jury Verdict represents A BRAND NEW DAY! Jurors easily grasped the profound damage "Lee" Johnson has endured, contracting Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma after regular exposures to Roundup (the most widely used pesticide on Earth) at his job as Grounds Keeper for Benicia CA Unified School District. We are forever grateful to these jurors and the magnificent legal team that brought this to trial!

After 8 weeks of trial proceedings, the jury found unanimously that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused Mr. Johnson to develop NHL, and that Monsanto failed to warn of this severe health hazard. Importantly, the jury also found that Monsanto acted with malice, oppression or fraud and should be punished for its conduct.

Monsanto Co. continues to refuse to warn consumers of the dangers of its multi-billion-dollar product Roundup despite the world’s foremost authority on cancer—the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)—listing glyphosate as a probable carcinogen in 2015.
This jury represents all of us - and WE MUST NOW GET IT OFF STORE SHELVES!!! Please sign and ask everyone you know who eats food, drinks water or plays in a park to sign and share!
PETITIONS: Get Roundup OFF Your Shelves:

Our Legal Heroes! Jury UNANIMOUSLY Awards $289M - Monsanto GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Monsanto’s Roundup on Trial: Day 2 in Court

July 11, 2018  by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.   
Thanks to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. for providing a recap of the second day in court in the Dewayne Johnson vs. Monsanto Co. trial. Proceedings began in San Francisco Superior Court on Monday, July 9. The plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old former school groundskeeper who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma four years ago, claims Monsanto hid evidence that the active ingredient in its Roundup herbicide, glyphosate, caused his cancer. This is the first case to go to trial among hundreds of lawsuits alleging Roundup caused non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The trial is expected to last about a month.

My co-counsel, Brent Wisner from Baum Hedlund, opened the testimony stage Tuesday morning with video deposition of Dr. Mark Martens, Monsanto’s former toxicology director. Under questioning by Aimee Wagstaff, Martens chronicled Monsanto’s herculean schemes to discredit a series of key animal studies published through the 1990s.

Those studies linked Monsanto’s herbicide to genotoxicity, a potential precursor to cancer. Contemporary emails between Martens and Dr. Donna Farmer, product protection lead, discuss the need to “combat” the damning studies. The emails show Monsanto hired Dr. James Parry, an esteemed independent genotoxicologist, to evaluate the 90s animal studies. Unhappy with his conclusions that also suggested that Roundup might cause cancer, the two Monsanto scientists schemed to persuade Dr. Parry to alter his conclusions.

The email said:

“It would take quite some time and money/studies to get him there. We simply aren’t going to do the studies Parry suggests… We should seriously start looking for one or more other individuals. We have not made much progress [in ginning up studies to prove RoundUp non-genotoxic] and are currently very vulnerable in this area.”

In the end, Monsanto considered converting Parry too costly.

Subsequent emails revealed during the afternoon video testimony of Monsanto’s Dr. William Heydens show that Monsanto ultimately rejected the strategy of bribing legitimate scientists (“We could be pushing $250K or maybe even more”) and concluded that:

“a less expensive/more palatable approach might be to involve experts only for the areas of contention, epidemiology and possibly MOA [Mechanism of Action] (depending on what comes out of the IARC meeting), and we ghost-write the Exposure Tox & Genotox sections. An option would be to add [apparently independent tame Monsanto scientists] Greim and Kier or Kirkland to have their names on the publication, but we would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit and sign their names so to speak. Recall that is how we handled Williams Kroes & Monroe.”

The Williams Kroes & Monroe paper, apparently ghostwritten by Monsanto per this email, has been a frequently cited analysis in the field of glyphosate and Roundup’s relationship with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the condition suffered by the thousands of Roundup users in this litigation.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a longtime environmental advocate and author of American Values: Lessons I Learned From My Family. He is an attorney of counsel to Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman, representing nearly 800 people across the nation who allege Roundup exposure caused their non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Follow him on Twitter: @RobertKennedyJr. Like him on Facebook.

Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is a nonprofit grassroots consumer advocacy organization. Sign up here to keep up with news and alerts from OCA.

Monday, June 18, 2018

DeWayne Johnson v. Monsanto Company TRIAL UNDERWAY in San Francisco

June 18, 2018 – San Francisco, California - - The trial of DeWayne Johnson v. Monsanto Company should begin sometime this month in the Superior Court for the County of San Francisco, California. Plaintiff DeWayne “Lee” Johnson alleges that exposure to certain Monsanto glyphosate-based herbicides, including Roundup®, caused him to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

A presiding judge held a hearing this morning to determine that Superior Court Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos will be the judge assigned to oversee the Johnson Monsanto Roundup trial.

We anticipate at least five to seven court days to handle motions in limine (requests to exclude certain testimony) and jury selection.

Mr. Johnson’s case is not part of the cases consolidated in the Judicial Council Coordinated Proceeding (JCCP) in Alameda County. His case was not included in that JCCP and Judge Karnow agreed, and Monsanto stipulated, to expedite Mr. Johnson’s case to trial due to his failing health. 

The Miller Firm, based in Virginia, and Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, based in Los Angeles, are co-counsel for Mr. Johnson. Defendant Monsanto Co. is represented by attorneys from Hollingsworth, Farella Braun + Martel and Winston & Strawn.

Lee Johnson worked as a groundskeeper for the Benicia Unified School District. Between 2012 and 2015, Mr. Johnson’s job entailed the application of Monsanto glyphosate-based herbicides to school properties. In 2014, Mr. Johnson began to experience severe skin irritation, which he reported to health care providers.

Lee contacted Monsanto after discovering the rash. He called and wrote to Monsanto Company, asking if his rash could have been caused by his use of Roundup? Internal Monsanto emails, later obtained by his lawyers, discuss his call but Monsanto never responded to him, so he kept using Roundup®.

Medical notes from this time show that Mr. Johnson’s symptoms appeared to get worse with exposure to a Monsanto glyphosate-based herbicide. Mr. Johnson’s health care providers consulted Monsanto’s Material Safety Data Sheet for the herbicide, which did not refer to any type of cancer risk.

In August of 2014, Lee Johnson was diagnosed with epidermotropic T-cell lymphoma. After his diagnosis, his job still required him to apply and be in close contact with Monsanto glyphosate-based herbicides. Despite enduring chemotherapy treatments throughout 2015, Mr. Johnson’s cancer progressed and in September, a biopsy revealed mycosis fungoides (non-Hodgkin lymphoma with large cell transformation).

Mr. Johnson retained the Miller Firm to represent him and filed a lawsuit against Monsanto in 2016. According to the complaint, Mr. Johnson was healthy and active prior to his cancer diagnosis.

In January of 2018, Mr. Johnson’s treating physician testified in a deposition that 80 percent of Johnson’s body was covered by lesions and that he likely only had a few more months to live. Since the deposition, Mr. Johnson began taking a new drug and his condition has improved, though he often remains confined to his bed.

Mr. Johnson’s lawyers said that “although Lee is fighting for his life, he will find the strength and courage to stand up to Monsanto. Lee will show his children the true meaning of bravery regardless of the outcome.”


A hearing to assign a trial judge to DeWayne Johnson v. Monsanto Company (case no. CGC-16-550128) occurred on Monday, June 18 at 9:30 AM. Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos is the judge assigned to oversee the Johnson trial.

Motions in limine and jury selection will take approximately five to seven court days before the trial can begin, though opening statements could possibly take place as soon as Monday, June 25.

Mr. Johnson is the first claimant to take Monsanto Co. to trial over allegations that the agrochemical company knowingly concealed the cancer-causing risks associated with exposure to its billion-dollar herbicide, Roundup®.

On May 17, 2018, California Superior Court Judge Curtis E.A. Karnow issued an order that allows jurors in Johnson to consider the scientific evidence related to the cause of Mr. Johnson’s cancer as well as allegations that Monsanto knowingly suppressed evidence that exposure to Roundup® can cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Monsanto filed a motion for summary judgment based on another pretrial motion to exclude Mr. Johnson’s causation experts: if the experts were excluded, Mr. Johnson would not have evidence to prove medical causation. However, Judge Karnow ruled most of the opinions of the plaintiff’s experts were admissible and sufficient as evidence of both general and specific causation. As such, Monsanto’s motion for summary judgment on the basis of causation was denied.

Judge Karnow also ruled that Mr. Johnson carried his burden of producing evidence from which a reasonable jury could find that Monsanto had acted with such malice, fraud or oppression as to warrant punitive damages.

To look at court documents on the Johnson case, go to The Superior Court of California County of San Francisco, click Online Services, Case Query and enter case number CGC-16-550128.

You can also access court documents and related new stories at

Lee with his sons
Lee's wife with their sons


The lawsuit alleges Monsanto, among other things:

  • Knew or had reason to know that its Roundup® products were defective and were inherently dangerous and unsafe when used in the manner instructed and provided by Defendants.

  • Did not sufficiently test, investigate, or study its Roundup® products and, specifically, the active ingredient glyphosate.

  • Knew or should have known at the time of marketing its Roundup® products that exposure to Roundup® and specifically, its active ingredient glyphosate, could result in cancer and other severe illnesses and injuries.

  • Did not conduct adequate post-marketing surveillance of its Roundup® products.

  • Could have employed safer alternative designs and formulations.

  • Information Monsanto did provide failed to contain relevant warnings, hazards. and precautions that would have enabled those exposed, such as Lee Johnson, to utilize the products safely and with adequate protection. Instead, Monsanto disseminated information that was inaccurate, false, and misleading and which failed to communicate accurately or adequately the comparative severity, duration, and extent of the risk of injuries with use of and/or exposure to Roundup® and glyphosate; continued to aggressively promote the efficacy of its products, even after it knew or should have known of the unreasonable risks from use or exposure; and concealed, downplayed, or otherwise suppressed, through aggressive marketing and promotion, any information or research about the risks and dangers of exposure to Roundup® and glyphosate.

  • Systematically suppressing or downplaying contrary evidence about the risks, incidence and prevalence of the side effects of Roundup® and glyphosate-containing products;

  • Continuing the manufacture and sale of its products with the knowledge that the products were unreasonably unsafe and dangerous.

The complaint cites studies concluding that exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup®, can cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma and a host of other serious health issues. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen based on a review of the available literature.

Monsanto contends its Roundup® products are safe and do not cause cancer, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma.


Attorneys for the Plaintiff

From the Miller Firm LLC
David J. Dickens (Co-lead trial counsel)
Timothy Litzenburg  (Co-lead trial counsel)

From Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman PC
R. Brent Wisner (Co-lead trial counsel)

From Audet & Partners, LLP

Attorneys for the Defendant

From Hollingsworth LLP
Joe G. Hollingsworth
Martin C. Calhoun
Kirby T. Griffis
William J. Cople

From Farella Braun + Martel LLP
Sandra A. Edwards
Joshua W. Malone

From Winston & Strawn LLP
George C. Lombardi
James L. Hilmert


Exact trial start date TBD after motions and jury selection are done. Baum Hedlund will send an alert to anyone interested in the exact start date. Opening statements could possibly take place on Monday, June 25.

Trial Judge - Suzanne Ramos Bolanos
Courtroom 504
400 McAllister St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

Watch it live? A request to broadcast the trial via CVN – Courtroom View Network will be made to Judge Bolanos. Baum Hedlund will keep interested press informed if the judge approves the trial being filmed for broadcast. Please contact CVN for pricing at

Contact: Robin McCall, Media Relations
Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, PC
Los Angeles ● Philadelphia ● Washington, D.C.

Main Office
Los Angeles Office
Phone: (310) 207-3233

San Francisco Office

Monday, May 14, 2018


How to Buy Local ORGANIC FOOD

May 8, 2018  Organic Consumers Association

Despite growing demand for locally produced foods, millions of Americans live in rural areas where they have little or no access to any kind of healthy, nutrient-dense food, much less food produced in their own community.

That’s not healthy for residents of those communities. And it’s not healthy for the communities. According to a report from the American Planning Association:

Disparities in food access are influenced by geographic, economic and social factors, but also by a community’s food production, processing, distribution, consumption and waste recovery policies and practices. Food access is not simply a health issue but also a community development and equity issue. For this reason, access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food is a key component not only in a healthy, sustainable local food system, but also in a healthy, sustainable community.”

To build healthy local organic and regenerative food systems, we need help from policymakers and from forward-looking business and community leaders.

We also need strong consumer demand. You can help, by supporting local businesses and independent farmers. Here’s a list to help you get started. is the most comprehensive database for buying direct from family farmers. is fast becoming the Etsy of artisanal foods. helps you find restaurants that live up to their claims of sourcing from local farms. specializes in grass-fed and pasture-raised animal products. The site includes a directory of farms by state, a list of farms that ship, and has excellent information on the latest scientific research on the health benefits of farm-raised, as opposed to factory-farm-raised, animal products. provides a directory of raw milk sellers.

Monterey Seafood Watch helps you locate sources of sustainable seafood.

Local Food Directories, published and by the USDA, help you locate farmers markets, on-farm markets, CSAs, and food hubs.

Should we add to this list? Please email and let us know.

Organic Consumers Association is a nonprofit consumer advocacy and grassroots organization. Keep up-to-date with OCA’s news and alerts by signing up for our newsletter.


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

MONSANTO To Be SUED AGAIN For 50 Years of Knowingly Poisoning Food Water Air

Judge Rules Non-Profits Can Sue Monsanto for Misleading Labeling of Popular Herbicide Roundup
May 7, 2018

Jay Feldman, Beyond Pesticides, 202-543-5450,
Katherine Paul, Organic Consumers Assoc.: (207) 653-3090,

Washington, DC- Beyond Pesticides (BP) and The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) today responded to a federal judge’s ruling against Monsanto Co.’s motion to dismiss the groups’ lawsuit, filed in April, 2017.

Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, the lead plaintiff in the case, said:

“In the face of EPA’s poor regulation of pesticides, misleading pesticide product labeling cannot be left unchecked. The court’s decision to allow our case to move forward, in denying Monsanto’s motion to dismiss, is critical to showing that the company is deceiving the public with a safety claim on its Roundup (glyphosate) label. Its advertising and labeling claim that Roundup ‘targets an enzyme found in plants but not in people or pets’ is false, given the devastating harm that glyphosate has on beneficial bacteria in the gut biome. The disruption of the gut biome is associated with a host of 21st century diseases, including asthma, autism, bacterial vaginosis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, Crohn’s disease, depression, inflammatory bowel disease, leaky gut syndrome, multiple sclerosis, obesity, Type 1 and 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s.

“The science on the hazards of Roundup (glyphosate) are clear and Monsanto officials know it. With this case, we seek to ensure that the public is not misled by false advertising and product labeling in the marketplace. It is a critical step toward ensuring that people are fully informed before purchasing toxic products that can poison them, their families, and the communities where they live.”

OCA International Director, Ronnie Cummins said:

“Monsanto aggressively markets Roundup as ‘safe’ for humans and animals, despite newer studies indicating that glyphosate may be carcinogenic and its use may affect human and animal cardiovascular, endocrine, nervous and reproductive systems. No reasonable consumer seeing the claim on this product that glyphosate targets an enzyme not found ‘in people or pets’ would expect that Roundup actually targets an important bacterial enzyme found in humans and animals, affecting the health of their immune system.

“Survey after survey shows that consumers rely on labels to guide their purchases and keep them and their families safe. When corporations mislead on the issue of a product’s effect on consumers and their families, they put everyone, but especially young children—in this case, playing in yards and parks—at risk, leaving the public no other recourse than to use the legal system to seek the removal of this misleading information.”

U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee, ruled that OCA and BP presented enough evidence to support that Monsanto’s labeling of its flagship weedkiller, Roundup, misleads consumers.

Through their attorneys, Richman Law Group, OCA and BP sued Monsanto on behalf of the general public, in Washington D.C., under the District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act, for misleading the public by labeling its popular weedkiller Roundup as “target[ing] an enzyme found in plants but not in people or pets.” The nonprofits allege that this statement is false, deceptive and misleading, because the enzyme targeted by glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is, in fact, found in people and pets.

Beyond Pesticides is a national grassroots non-profit organization headquartered in the District of Columbia that works with allies in protecting public health and the environment to lead the transition to a world free of toxic pesticides. For more information, visit

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. For more information, visit:

Richman Law Group (RLG) is a boutique law firm specializing in consumer protection and civil rights. RLG is dedicated to serving the greater good by holding large corporations accountable for actions that harm consumers, the environment, and the general public. For more information, visit: