Sask. farmer leading class-action lawsuit against producers of RoundUp herbicide
Published Thursday, May 16, 2019 4:24PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, May 16, 2019 6:44PM CST
A Saskatchewan farmer has launched a lawsuit against agribusiness companies Bayer and Monsanto alleging an ingredient in one of the company’s products, RoundUp, is a cause of his cancer.
The plaintiff is not commenting to media at this time, but has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, a type of cancer that primarily effects white blood cells.
The plaintiff’s lead counsel, Tony Merchant, says his firm has been looking into the effects of the gylsophate-based product since 2011.
“We think there’s an easily demonstrated relationship between cancer and the use of RoundUp,” Merchant told CTV News. “The plaintiff is ideal, he was very careful, unfortunately he has cancer, we think the farming community and Canadians need to know and there should be compensation for people who’ve got cancer as a result of these problems.”
Merchant describes his plaintiff as a farmer in his 50s who has always handled herbicides carefully. He says he feels the case he’s building can show a strong link between his client’s cancer and the use of RoundUp.
“He’s got what we call a signature disease,” Merchant said. “He’s got Non-Hodgkin lymphoma which is very closely connected with the use of RoundUp, so it’s unfortunate to say of a victim that he’s ideal, but he’s ideal.”
The news comes days after a California couple was awarded a massive settlement in a lawsuit involving RoundUp in the United States.
“That’s a jury and a court expressing to Monsanto that it’s a huge, responsible corporation and it ought not to be endangering people,” Merchant said. “That’s part of the case that we will pursue.”
In a written response to CTV News, Bayer Canada, the company that acquired Monsanto in 2018, said it is limited in what it can say about the case but is aware of the legal action.
“While we have great sympathy for the plaintiffs, glyphosate-based herbicides are not the cause of their illnesses and we will rigorously defend our products,” the response reads. “Glyphosate has been extensively studied globally by scientists and regulators, and results from this research confirm it is not carcinogenic.”
Merchant says more details on the suit will be released as it gets off the ground and expects the lawsuit will start making its way through the courts by late 2019 or early 2020.