Full Review Of 11th Cir. Ruling Sought By Monsanto

An Eleventh Circuit panel revised but did not overturn a previous ruling that federal law does not preempt a Georgia doctor's claim that Monsanto failed to warn people about the alleged cancer risks of its Roundup weedkiller, rejecting pharmaceutical and business groups' claims that the decision would disrupt distributors.

The agrichemical behemoth was joined in court by the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and the Products Liability Advisory Council, which filed an amicus brief in August asking the Eleventh Circuit to hear the case en banc and reverse its July decision.

The groups argued in their brief that the Eleventh Circuit's opinion and "force of law" analysis threaten to upend federal preemption law, wreak havoc on manufacturers and distributors of federally regulated products, and create "dramatic uncertainty" for other federal schemes governing the labelling of thousands of products.

The court reiterated its finding on Friday in a rehearing by the panel that decided the case that only federal action with the force of law has the capacity to preempt state law, and that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's pesticide registration process under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act is not sufficiently formal to carry the force of law.

Various EPA documents, including label registration and review decisions and papers in which EPA concluded that glyphosate, Roundup's main ingredient, does not cause cancer, that Monsanto, a unit of Bayer AG, had pointed to, suggest that it could not label Roundup as carcinogenic without consequences from the agency.

The Eleventh Circuit also ruled that those documents do not amount to legislative activity that would naturally bind Monsanto. Monsanto had asked the court to reconsider the decision en banc, claiming that it contradicted prior Supreme Court decisions. The company stated that it will seek a full court review of the revised decision once more.

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