A Washington state golf pro who says exposure to Roundup caused his cancer has filed a lawsuit against Monsanto. The suit comes just months after German agricultural and pharmaceutical giant Bayer, which bought Monsanto in 2018, agreed to settle thousands of similar Roundup cancer claims for $10 billion, as reported by the New York Times.
In a legal filing on Aug. 3, Gary Lindeblad blamed his cancer on exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, and to a surfactant in Roundup, polyoxyethylene tallow amine, which is toxic to aquatic organisms and which the plaintiff included as a causative element in the complaint. Lindeblad, who sprayed Roundup for decades starting in the 1970s while working at Spokane area golf and country clubs, as reported by NBC-affiliate KSDK, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1999.
Lindeblad claims that his injuries were entirely avoidable because Monsanto had direct knowledge of Roundup’s harmful effects and knew of the cancer risk for decades. He is asking for a jury trial and compensation for “pain, suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and other noneconomic damages.”
Monsanto, according to the 29-page complaint, engaged in “negligent and wrongful conduct in connection with the design, development, manufacture, testing, packaging, promoting, marketing, advertising, distribution, labeling, and/or sale of the herbicide Roundup.”
In 1996, Monsanto was charged with making false and misleading claims about Roundup in a lawsuit brought by the attorney general of New York state. In the wake of the lawsuit, Monsanto was forbidden from making any claims in New York that would imply that glyphosate was “safe, non-toxic, harmless or free from risk.” The Lindeblad complaint states that because Monsanto was only bound to remove misleading statements about Roundup in New York, the company continued to misinform consumers in 49 other states.
This misinformation and denial of mounting scientific evidence was the reason Lindeblad felt confident in continuing to use Roundup, even though “as early as 1991, evidence existed demonstrating that glyphosate formulations were significantly more toxic than glyphosate alone,” according to the filing.
The complaint contains more than seven strict liability claims, numerous implied breach of warranty claims, and alleges that Monsanto committed more than 19 types of negligence.
By James Parker
James Parker is a news writer and fact-checker from Coral Springs, Florida. He majored in Communication and Media Studies at Stetson University, where he spent much of his time examining the role of optics in various fields. When not covering the latest medical or legal development, James works on personal writing projects and board game design.