EU Goes Against Grain And Approves Roundup
In a move that highlights the inherent difficulties in proving dangerous product cases, the European Union said it would consider extending Roundup’s license.
A newly-issued study from the European Chemical Agency apparently convinced the agency that Roundup was safe, despite a volume of evidence that glyphosate, which is the weed killer’s active ingredient, causes several forms of cancer. A spokeswoman insisted that the EU had considered “the latest state of scientific research” prior to its announcement. Environmental groups roundly criticized the move. Green Party European Parliament member said it “makes no sense to accept the wide range of risks associated with glyphosate.” The EU set no date for the start of discussions.
The retention of the European market could mean an additional $100 million a year for Roundup manufacturer Monsanto.
A Closer Look at Roundup Side Effects
In 2015, the World Health Organization labeled Roundup as a dangerous product because of glyphosate, a substance that has been linked with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and DNA corruption in humans, as well as various forms of cancer in laboratory animals. But a number of other groups, including several European health agencies, have reached the opposite conclusion, and declared that Roundup is not a dangerous product.
One explanation for the discrepancy may be that some of the agencies which have approved Roundup only examined glyphosate. However, a 2016 study concluded that some other ingredients in the weed killer may be almost as poisonous as glyphosate. These ingredients have not been studied until recently, largely because Monsanto insisted that they were trade secrets and did not allow scrutiny. But the real reason may have been that the chemical manufacturer knew, or strongly suspected, that such studies would make the dangerous product label stick to Roundup.
Meeting the Burden of Proof
In almost all dangerous product cases, the victim/plaintiffs have expert witnesses who have ample evidence to support their claims of dangerous side-effects, and defense experts also make evidence-backed claims that the substance is as safe as mother’s milk. Since the plaintiff has the burden of proof, the plaintiff will almost always lose a toe-to-toe “swearing match.” So, to help ensure fair compensation, the plaintiff’s attorney must come up with a better way.
In Roundup dangerous product cases, due to this new evidence, the best approach may be to undermine the evidence that these experts rely on. If the jurors are convinced that the defense evidence is less than 100 percent solid, they nearly always side with the plaintiff.
Alternatively, an attorney can attack the experts themselvesin dangerous product cases. Most defense experts testify only on behalf of chemical companies, and they do so repeatedly. Moreover, they may only review materials that the chemical company provides to reach their conclusions. These facts often undermine the expert’s credibility in the minds of the jurors, which is often all that needs to happen for the plaintiff to satisfy the burden of proof.
Substantial compensation is usually available in dangerous product cases. For a free consultation with an experienced products liability lawyer in Bowling Green, contact Attorney Gary S. Logsdon. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.