Judge Rules Against Monsanto in Cancer Lawsuit

Former coffee farmer suing over Roundup herbicide
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2016 3:33 AM CDT
Judge Rules Against Monsanto in Cancer Lawsuit
Bottles of Roundup herbicide, a product of Monsanto, are displayed on a store shelf in St. Louis.    (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

A former coffee farmer who says Monsanto's widely used Roundup herbicide caused her cancer scored a win last week when a federal judge rejected the company's request to dismiss the case. Christine Sheppard was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2003, seven years after she started using Roundup at her coffee farm in Hawaii, Courthouse News reports. Her lawsuit, like one filed by three cancer-stricken farmers in Nebraska, accuses Monsanto of falsely claiming that glyphosate, the herbicide's active ingredient, was safe. The World Health Organization published a study last year that concluded glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic to humans."

When Sheppard—whose cancer is in remission—and her husband filed their lawsuit earlier this year, attorney Michael Miller accused Monsanto of running a "misinformation campaign" and said the suit would "force Monsanto to face the human consequences of their lies," West Hawaii Today reported. In last week's hearing, US District Judge Michael Seabright decided that a 2009 editorial in the Kona Coffee Farmer's Association newsletter in which Sheppard expressed misgivings about Roundup did not mean the 2-year statute of limitations for claims had passed—especially considering the WHO's designation of Roundup as a probable carcinogen. (On French TV, a lobbyist defending Monsanto said glyphosate was safe to drink, but then refused to drink it.)

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