[Updated May 2020] Over 40,000 cancer victims have filed lawsuits against Monsanto and its parent, Bayer AG, the makers of the popular weed killer Roundup. Several countries have banned Roundup after links between the product’s active ingredient, glyphosate, and certain types of cancer. California has declared glyphosate a possible carcinogen. Yet millions of pounds of Roundup are used each year in Kentucky.
Although the EPA is taking its time on deciding just how dangerous glyphosate is, medical experts believe that glyphosate can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma.
So many Roundup cancer lawsuits have been filed that the federal court has consolidated these cases into a single “multidistrict litigation” or “MDL.” The judge overseeing these cases is in San Francisco. Already two have the cases have been sent to trial. The first two cases resulted in big wins for cancer patients, although the victories are bittersweet.
Last year, a Roundup cancer trial was held in a California state court. A jury awarded a former school groundskeeper, DeWayne “Lee” Johnson, almost $300 million. The judge later reduced the award to $78 million. The case is sad because Monsanto refuses to pay and instead has appealed. Lee’s cancer is in stage 4 meaning he will likely pass without ever seeing a dime of his recovery.
More recently, a bellwether Roundup cancer trial was held in California, this time in federal court. Once again, the jury found that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide most likely caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The jury awarded $80 million.
The first lawsuit involved a professional groundskeeper who sprayed hundreds of gallons of weed killer each year as part of his landscaping duties. In the second case, the cancer victim was a homeowner who used Roundup around his property to control weeds.
Roundup and Kentucky
Kentucky is a big user of glyphosate. According to the most recent records, Kentuckians used 5.3 million pounds of the popular herbicide in 2016. Since 1992, usage of the weed killer has increased by 1,900%.
Why so much weed killer? Kentucky has the sixth largest farming economy in the United States. Tobacco, tomatoes, soybeans, corn and wheat are all big crops. And with so many farms comes the need to control weeds. [The author of this post, Attorney Brian Mahany ran a small cattle ranch and lived on his family’s dairy farm growing up. He says he regularly used Roundup and its industrial strength cousin, RangerPro, to suppress weeds along electric fence lines.]
The many state farms means that Kentucky is one of the 20 largest users of glyphosate in the nation. Add in golf courses, nurseries and parks and its easy to see why glyphosate is so heavily used. But that is bad news for Kentucky Roundup cancer victims.
Medical experts have found a link between Roundup and certain types of cancer including non- Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma. Other experts believe there is a link between the popular weed killer and many other types of disease including:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Childhood brain cancer
- Breast cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Thyroid cancer
- Alzheimer’s disease
Many Kentucky Roundup Cancer Victims File Suit against Monsanto
There are dozens of lawsuits against Monsanto and other makers of glyphosate based weed killers filed by Kentucky cancer victims. Obviously, we cannot tell all of their stories in a blog post although each story is unique and worth telling.
Family of Deceased Kentucky Cancer Victim Fights Back
One of the newest lawsuits in Kentucky to be filed occurred last week. We are sharing this particular story because the cancer victim, James Hall, didn’t live long enough to file a lawsuit. Because some of the cancers linked to glyphosate spread so rapidly, there are far too many cases in which the victim doesn’t survive long enough to see his day in court.
Kentucky resident James Hall began using Roundup in 1985. In June of 2013 he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He passed away on April 5, 2017.
Unfortunately, Mr. Hall isn’t alone. My former father-in-law passed away a decade ago after a short fight with myeloma. He was an avid gardener and worked his entire life on a State of Maine road maintenance crew. (Highway departments are big users of Roundup and other glyphosate based herbicides. They used them to control weeds and other vegetation alongside highways and bridges.)
Did Roundup cause his cancer? He isn’t here to tell his story. Nor is John Hall. But claims can be brought by the estate of a cancer victim as long as someone can credibly testify as to the decedent’s use of Roundup.
Most of the cases we see involve farmers and landscapers but highway work crews, nursery operators, home gardeners, orchard workers, landscapers and groundskeepers are also at great risk if they use Roundup.
Kentucky Cancer Victims Have Just One Year to Sue
The Kentucky Legislature enacted one of the shortest statutes of limitations in the nation. A statute of limitation is the time period in which one must file a lawsuit.
Injury and wrongful death victims in the Bluegrass state have just one year to sue! Although the clock generally starts the day of the injury or death, courts have extended that time period a bit based on when the patient learned – or should have learned – that his or her cancer might be linked to Roundup.
The case filed by James Hall’s estate is so recent that Bayer Monsanto isn’t even required to file an answer yet. We know, however, that they have denied responsibility in all prior Roundup cancer cases. We also expect they will claim that the family waited too long to file suit.
Although the law gives Kentuckians just one year to sue and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the World Health Organization) listed glyphosate as a known carcinogen in 2015, we think Hall’s family stands a good chance of getting their day in court.
Why? Because despite evidence all over the world linking Roundup to certain cancers, Monsanto continues to deny their products have any link to cancer. (We don’t believe a word they say; Monsanto is the same company that made PCB’s and later, Agent Orange.) A company can’t claim that the family should have known about the suspected link to cancer in 2017 when the company continues to say its product doesn’t cause cancer.
Because the Kentucky statute of limitations is so incredibly short, it is imperative that Kentucky cancer victims seek counsel immediately. [Links to how to contact us appear at the end of this post.]
What Kind of Damages Can I Recover from a Kentucky Roundup Lawsuit?
Kentucky law allows cancer victims to recover a wide variety of damages including:
- Medical expenses not reimbursed by insurance
- Future anticipated medical expenses
- Costs of living with a disability
- Lost income and wages
- Funeral expenses
- Pain and suffering (including emotional distress)
- Lost consortium
Kentucky is one of the states that has not yet capped pain and suffering damages. In addition, punitive damages are also available and without any caps.
Under Kentucky law, “a plaintiff shall recover punitive damages only upon proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that the defendant from whom such damages are sought acted toward the plaintiff with oppression, fraud or malice.”
But don’t get excited just yet…
The Kentucky Supreme Court recently held that compliance with regulatory standards weighs against awarding punitive damages. Monsanto is sure to argue that Roundup complies with EPA regulations. There is evidence, however, that the company interfered with the regulatory process and used testing companies that were later convicted of fraud.
It’s not just punitive damages that are at risk, however. The state’s product liability statute says,
“In any product liability action, it shall be presumed, until rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence to the contrary, that the product was not defective if the design, methods of manufacture, and testing conformed to the generally recognized and prevailing standards or the state of the art in existence at the time the design was prepared, and the product was manufactured.”
Despite having no cap on compensatory or punitive damages, bringing a Kentucky Roundup cancer victims claim isn’t easy. Both the presumption noted above and the incredibly short time period in which to bring a claim make hiring a good lawyer critical if you want success.
We Are Still Accepting Kentucky Roundup Lawsuit Claims
Mahany Law is a leading national law firm. Together with our partners, we have helped people in 39 states including Kentucky. Taking on a multi-billion corporation such as Bayer Monsanto is no easy undertaking. It certainly isn’t something for the average personal injury lawyer. Like the Biblical tale of David taking on Goliath, we have fought many huge multinational corporations and are ready to help you.
Despite the existence of a Multi District Litigation order, Roundup cancer cases are NOT treated as class actions, Each case is unique. Your damages are also unique. There are law firms that advertise on late night TV and that have signed up hundreds or even thousands of clients. Don’t become just another name and number.
This post was first written in April 2019. Over a year has now elapsed. If the statute of limitations in Kentucky is only 12 months, isn’t it too late to file a claim? That’s a great question and the answer is maybe.
If you knew about the cancer links to Roundup and waited more than a year, its probably too late to bring a claim. But it can take years for cancer to emerge.
Let’s say you get in a car wreck. If you break your arm in the accident or need stitches from broken glass, you know immediately that you have a claim. In Roundup cases, you could have been exposed to glyphosate years ago but just develop cancer now. It’s important that once you learn you have cancer that you seek legal help immediately. Kentucky has the shortest statute of limitations of any state. Don’t wait!
Have questions? Please allow us the opportunity to review your potential Kentucky Roundup lawsuit case. We will to determine whether or not you have a case. If a loved one has recently passed and was a frequent user of Roundup, the estate may also have a claim. We offer case reviews at no charge.
Do I qualify for a Kentucky Roundup cancer lawsuit?
Any person exposed to Roundup in Kentucky, either through home or occupational use, and has later been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, leukemia, or non-Hodgkin lymphoma, may qualify to make a claim. If a family member has passed away but otherwise qualifies, his or her estate can bring the claim.
What does it cost to bring a Kentucky Roundup lawsuit?
If we take your case, you owe us nothing unless we win and collect. If you are simply seeking a consultation to determine if you have a case, those are offered without cost or obligation. And all consultations are confidential.
We will always listen to your circumstances and give you our analysis of your case without any cost or further obligation. Should we both decide to proceed, we will advance any costs and fees that may be required by the court.
Can’t I Just Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Would you hire an ophthalmologist to perform open heart surgery? Both are doctors! Obviously, the answer is no. Kentucky law can be quite tricky when it comes to certain protections product that manufacturers like Monsanto receive for simply being in legal compliance. These cases – called products liability cases – are also extremely expensive to prosecute. Sometimes just the out-of-pocket expenses can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Unfortunately, in our experience many personal injury lawyers don’t have the financial resources or experience to take on well funded multinational corporations. If you think you have a case against Monsanto, call us. Honest answers, no cost consultations and no fees unless we win and collect money on your behalf.
Why Should I Sue, Won’t Monsanto Simply Do the Right Thing?
To date, we have not seen Bayer Monsanto doing the right thing. We also know, however, that the many of you don’t like the notion of filing a lawsuit.
We get that. And believe it or not, we believe there are usually better off than everyone racing to the courthouse. There isn’t much choice here, however. Monsanto continues to deny liability and the clock keeps ticking. Nowhere is this more critical than for Kentucky Roundup cancer victims who are already finding a very short time period in which to bring their claim.
Mahany Law – Proudly Representing Kentucky Roundup Cancer Victims