An upcoming trial date against Monsanto over its Roundup weedkiller was vacated by U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria as he ordered the parties to enter into confidential mediation to avoid the need for hundreds of individual cases to go before juries nationwide. As per the pre-trial court order no. 141, the decision was taken so that the resources of the parties and the court could be better spent on organizing the remaining cases in the MDL.
A hearing is set for May 22, 2019, by Judge Chhabria, which would also serve as a case management conference to discuss next steps for management of the MDL proceeding and to discuss a new date for the vacated trial. The hearing would determine which cases must be dismissed or remanded to state court, and to prepare the remaining cases for transfer back to their home districts for federal court trials. The judge also ordered the parties to propose a mediator in their case management statement stating the court will appoint someone if they fail to agree. The third Roundup trial is already under its way in California, filed by a couple who were each diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma following exposure to Roundup.
Monsanto faces more than 11,000 cases over allegations that the company hid cancer risk linked to Roundup, ran a campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers, and the general public that the weedkiller was non-hazardous. Additionally, a number of state court trials are lined up throughout this year with a number of cases expected to face Missouri juries in summer and fall, as the vast majority of Roundup claims are currently pending in Missouri state court, as Monsanto’s U.S. headquarters were located.