Monsanto Answers Roundup Complaint

The Monsanto Company has replied to the complaint brought by the family and estate of Anthony Soltyka. They deny all allegations that their herbicide and pesticide, Roundup, had anything to do with Anthony’s onset of and eventual death from  Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a form of cancer.

As has been covered extensively by Law Street, Monsanto, and its parent company Bayer, have faced intense scrutiny and many lawsuits regarding Roundup’s potential link to various forms of cancer, particularly of the lymph nodes. At issue is whether Roundup’s primary active ingredient, glyphosate, and potentially other trade-secret ingredients, cause cancer in humans. Cases are still ongoing.

As evidence for Monsanto’s alleged liability, the Soltyka family primarily cites the Environmental Protection Agency’s ongoing re-investigation of the potential hazards posed by Roundup, the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) designation of glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” and an open letter submitted to the EU by experts. 

In their reply, Monsanto questioned the expertise of the bodies making these rulings and argued that all the researchers who call Roundup a carcinogen have not adequately taken into account the breadth and depth of the literature. They further state that even though they deny the plaintiff’s statement that industry leaders participated in the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) review process, the EFSA did in fact rule that “glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.” 

As to the Soltyka family’s allegations of damages caused by Roundup, Monsanto replied that any and all damages were the fault of the user, the deceased Anthony Soltyka, and/or other incidental factors that no company could reasonably account for.

The complaint was originally filed in the District of Maryland, where Anthony Soltyka resided, but the case was transferred to Judge Vince Chhabria of the Northern District of California, who is overseeing the long-running multidistrict litigation. The plaintiffs are represented by Nidel & Nace, P.L.L.C., and Monsanto is represented by Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.