In a pretrial order issued on March 7, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria rejected a motion for summary judgment filed by Monsanto to escape a series of bellwether cases lined up against it over the hazards of the controversial weed killer, Roundup.
Judge Chhabria indicated that the claims filed against Monsanto would continue and the agro-giant must bear punitive damages if the plaintiffs successfully prove that glyphosate exposure from Roundup herbicide caused their cancer. The judge opined, if the plaintiffs establish the causation, Monsanto will be liable for withholding safety warnings. Judge Chhabria further stated, "although the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is, in fact, giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue.” The judge rejected Monsanto's arguments that the evidence presented was insufficient to support a punitive damages award.
The federal bellwether trial developments over glyphosate exposure and cancer are closely observed by other plaintiffs and lawyers, as Monsanto is charged with more than 10,000 other Roundup lawsuits over allegations that it failed to take adequate measures to forewarn about glyphosate exposure risks.