A motion was filed last week to establish a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) for all Roundup lawsuits pending throughout the federal court system, which each involve common allegations that side effects of the popular weedkiller caused individuals to develop non-Hodgkins lymphoma or other types of cancer.
The complaints claim that Monsanto knew or should have known about the link between exposure to Roundup and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, yet placed their desire for profits before consumer safety by withholding warnings from farmers, landscapers, gardeners and others in the agricultural industry.
If the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) grants the motion, lawsuits filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide will be centralized before one judge to coordinate discovery, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings and serve the convenience of witnesses, parties and the courts.
While an MDL is often confused with a Roundup class action lawsuit, there are important differences and each claim remains an individual case throughout the process.
MDL Similar to Roundup Class Action During Pretrial Proceedings
In complex product liability litigation, where a large number of claims have been filed by individuals nationwide involving similar injuries caused by the same medication, medical device or product, it is common for the courts to consolidated the cases before one judge as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.
Many people will refer to such consolidation as a class action lawsuit for Roundup, but the cases are only consolidated for discovery and pretrial proceedings. Each plaintiff will still have the individual burden of establishing that their diagnosis of non-Hodgkins lymphoma was caused by Roundup exposure and that Monsanto is liable for failing to warn about this risk.
Unlike a class action, where all cases are tried through a class representative, since the impact of injuries caused by Roundup are different, and each individual’s exposure was different, these claims will ultimately be considered by a jury as individual claims if Roundup settlements are not reached during pretrial proceedings.
It is possible that some Roundup class action claims will be presented during the litigation, seeking the same damages for all individuals exposed to the weedkiller or who purchased the product, such as seeking damages for future medical monitoring or refunds of the purchase prices. However, non-Hodgkins lymphoma lawsuits over Roundup will remain individual claims, even if they are consolidated as part of an MDL
Coordination May Facilitate Roundup Settlements
As part of the coordinated proceedings in a Roundup MDL, it is likely the judge presiding over the litigation will coordinate discovery regarding issues that apply to all cases, and then select a small group of “bellwether” lawsuits to go through case-specific discovery in preparation for a series of early test trials.
These cases will be representative of other claims in the litigation, and help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that may be presented throughout the litigation.
While the outcomes of these bellwether trials would not be binding on other claims, they may influence eventual negotiations to settle Roundup cases and avoid the need for hundreds of separate trials.
Factors that would be considered as part of any settlement will be similar to the factors that would be weighed by a jury if each case went to trial, including the medical care or treatment the individual required as a result of the injury; the amount of any lost wages or other economic damages; the impact the cancer had on the individuals overall physical and mental health; as well as the pain and mental anguish suffered in the past or which will likely be suffered in the future.
As part of the MDL process, if any settlement offers are made, each individual plaintiff will have the option of accepting or rejecting the settlement.
If the Roundup cases do not settle, the MDL may eventually be disbanded and each case could be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for a separate trials in courts nationwide.
Roundup Class Action Lawyers
While there are currently only a few dozen complaints filed in courts throughout the U.S., our Roundup injury lawyers expect that there will soon be several hundred, if not thousands of cases brought on behalf of individuals nationwide diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Throughout the Roundup litigation process, our lawyers will continue to review and file new claims for individuals who developed a form of this cancer due to Monsanto’s failure to provide adequate warnings or safety recommendations for users of their weedkiller.
Free consultations and claim evaluations are provided to help users and family members determine whether financial compensation may be available through an injury lawsuit, wrongful death lawsuit or Roundup class action for medical monitoring. Our lawyers can help review the circumstances surrounding the exposure to Roundup and explain the legal options that may be available.
To begin the process of determining whether you, a friend or family member may be entitled to a Roundup settlement, request a free consultation and claim evaluation by calling our law firm at 1 (800) 522-0102 or by completing our on-line request form.