Bayer, Monsanto On The Run From Coming Tidal Wave of Evidence & Legal Action
Bloomberg recently reported Bayer “…lost about 16 billion euros ($18 billion) in market value this week, since the jury’s award in the Roundup case.” Financial media is keeping a continued magnifying glass on the company’s share price woes as bad news piles on from multiple angles. Since the San Francisco ‘verdict heard around the world,’ news outlets have green-lighted continued coverage competing for scoops to capitalize on the Bayer-Monsanto feeding frenzy.
A new mainstream media stone was turned over recently as global outlets freely ran the story, without added pro-agrochemical spin, about a recent study by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG). The group, having a long history of spotlighting the dangers of glyphosate, discovered amounts of the widely used herbicide in thirty-one out of 45 tested products. The glyphosate levels, found in popular oats, granolas and snack bars, have levels higher than what some scientists consider safe for children. The media is now faced with a crisis in journalism. Numerous smaller alternative and grassroots outlets have published scientifically sound results for years showing glyphosate contamination in other types of foods and even numerous vaccines given to infants. Will the media go the final step and open the discussion to exactly how widespread and dangerous the burden of this chemical has become?
Johnson’s attorney Brent Wisner and co-counsel Robert F Kennedy, Jr. both appeared in an exclusive interview with Host Del Bigtree on his show The HighWire. The appearance represented not only the first interview together with both members of Johnson’s legal team but also the most thorough recap and deep dive into the historic trial and its discovery documents. Beyond the soundbites and short appearances mainstream media approached the trial coverage with, Bigtree and The HighWire’s interview gave viewers a front row seat to the bombshell admissions from the trial that may spell future disaster for Bayer AG.
It was demonstrated during the trial that Johnson, after learning about his cancer, contacted Monsanto to ask if Roundup was safe. Despite internal emails showing Monsanto employees, including their chief medical director, were discussing how to handle Johnson, the company refused to contact him back. During the time period Monsanto ignored Johnson, Wisner explains, “It was during this time when he’s continuing to spray it [Roundup] that his cancer goes from something that’s sort of manageable, although it’s a problem…to a death sentence. And the evidence shows that when you apply glyphosate after a cancer has been initiated, it actually promotes it.”
It was arguably the amount and content of documents produced during the discover period of the recent Monsanto trial that swayed the jury to arrive at their “guilty on all counts” verdict. The trial represented the first time this evidence saw the light of day and it proved indefensible for Monsanto’s legal team as The Guardian wrote:
“Monsanto was undone by the words of its own scientists, the damning truth illuminated through the company’s emails, internal strategy reports and other communications.”
Kennedy commented on the gravity and sea change represented by the recent verdict and the groundswell of future legal action lining up by saying:
“Monsanto has been seen, up until this moment…as an untouchable corporation and nobody was able to sue it successfully in a way that really made it think about changing that corporate culture. Thanks to Brent, we now have them on the ropes.”
Monsanto’s next legal Roundup-cancer challenge comes on October 22 in their hometown of St. Louis. In the recent interview, Wisner reasserted his confidence on his legal position for upcoming litigation stating:
“What we have here is about ten percent…there are hundreds of other [discovery] documents way more damning than just these that show just absolute, definitive misconduct by Monsanto.”
What else has happened since the recent verdict? Monsanto’s other flagship herbicide dicamba is facing a problematic future. According to Bayer, 37 lawsuits with 181 plaintiffs have been filed in the US. Last year, the drift from the herbicide damaged an estimated 3.6 million acres of soybeans or four percent of all US plantings. Beck’s Hybrids, the fourth-largest US soybean retailers has recently contacted the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking it to place new restrictions on dicamba. One lawsuit is seeking to take dicamba off the market permanently. While on August 29 the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Seattle will decide if the EPA broke the law in granting the herbicide a two-year registration.
It was reported recently that the California Supreme Court has refused to hear a challenge brought by Monsanto attempting to remove glyphosate from the state’s Proposition 65 list of carcinogens.
It has been only a few months since Hawaii made history becoming the first state in the US to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos, a neurotoxin that causes significant damage to brain development in children. News recently broke that the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has ordered the EPA to remove the pesticide from sale in the US within 60 days. The federal appeals court ruled the EPA endangered public health by keeping the pesticide on the market despite extensive scientific evidence that even small amounts of exposure harm babies’ brains.
The days of corporate catch-all defenses guaranteeing their toxic chemicals are safe based on their claims of overwhelming science and decades-long history of safe use appears to be over. The fact that Monsanto’s media talking points after losing the San Francisco verdict were continuing to ignore the synergistic effects of Roundup, along with their own damning internal emails, to still focus on the alleged safety of glyphosate is telling. It appears that the verdict and now-public discovery documents have caught the chemical corporation by surprise. The ‘glyphosate is safe’ excuse is either a sign of an out-of-touch public relations department operating in an obsolete echo chamber or it is revealing that the corporation has been scientifically and legally checkmated. With an estimated 10,000 plus cases lining up across America targeting Bayer-Monsanto, Roundup and glyphosate, the future and profitability of the agrochemical giant and its longstanding products are now in serious question.