States v. Monsanto: 6 Lawsuits that Shook Big Ag

Monsanto is a company with an infamous name that crops up in popular culture. This powerful biotechnology corporation has been involved in six lawsuits where they were accused of causing harm to the environment or infringing on intellectual property rights. What are these 6 lawsuits, and how did they impact Monsanto?

The “monsanto lawsuit update” is a blog that discusses the 6 lawsuits that shook big ag. These lawsuits include one from Monsanto, and a few others from other companies. Read more in detail here: monsanto lawsuit update 2021.

States v. Monsanto: 6 Lawsuits that Shook Big Ag

Monsanto is Big Agriculture’s unofficial ruler. As the world’s biggest seed corporation, Monsanto has an unrivaled effect on the food we eat and even the quality of the water we drink—especially when their products are dangerous.   

It’s no surprise that Monsanto has friends in high places as a Fortune 500 firm. The Poison Papers, for example, reveal close links between Monsanto and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is intended to defend the American people above corporate interests.

Some states have sought to step in when federal restrictions have failed to effectively safeguard consumer and environmental health. We examine the important legal conflicts between states and Monsanto, demonstrating how the company has battled laws at every turn.

1. Cancer Warnings for Roundup 

California’s Prop 65 legislation designated glyphosate, the key chemical in Monsanto’s famous Roundup weed killer, as a probable carcinogen in July 2017. This designation may ultimately necessitate the inclusion of warning labels on all Roundup products marketed in the state.

After the International Association for Research on Cancer (IARC), a research branch of the World Health Organization, assessed glyphosate to be a likely carcinogen, California declared it such. Because Roundup is the most widely used pesticide in history, this categorization should cause concern. Some farmers have even sued Monsanto, claiming that the pesticide is to blame for their non-lymphoma. Hodgkin’s

Monsanto has now tried to undermine the IARC, claiming that its findings were based on flawed research and that California’s categorization of Roundup is consequently incorrect. They refer to institutions such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which have awarded the chemical a clean bill of health, despite internal papers alleging that EPA personnel colluded with Monsanto to publish results that supported glyphosate’s safety.


Monsanto’s effort to prevent the categorization from taking effect was rejected by a court in February 2017. Monsanto filed a new lawsuit on November 15, this time with the support of agricultural groups such the National Association of Wheat Growers. The plaintiffs now claim that the state’s acts constitute “unconstitutional coerced speech” that violates the First Amendment.

Attorneys General from 11 states, including Missouri, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin, have filed amicus briefs in support of Monsanto. 

This isn’t the first time that other states have banded together to oppose California’s rules. Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma sued California in 2016 over a legislation that prohibits the selling of eggs from caged hens. The lawsuit was rejected by a federal court, who said they lacked the right to sue another state.


2. Labeling of GMOs

Herbicides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) go hand in hand. Monsanto, for example, makes Roundup Ready seeds that have been genetically engineered to be resistant to Roundup, enabling farmers to spray large amounts of the herbicide without harming their crops. 

Despite the fact that more than 90% of Americans want GMO food labeling, legislation has lagged due to Big Ag’s political clout. 

According to a study conducted by the New York Times, more than 90% of Americans support GMO food labels that reveal whether or not components have been genetically engineered. However, because of Big Ag’s political clout, legislation mandating labeling has lagged.

Monsanto spent more than $8 million to defeat Prop 37, an initiative that would force firms to disclose genetically modified elements in food goods, when it was filed in California in 2012. The Organic Consumers Fund, which contributed a little more than $1 million in favor of Prop 37, was the top contributor. The measure, predictably, did not get enough votes to pass.

Monsanto has not been afraid to suit when comparable GMO legislation have been approved. Vermont became the first state to approve a GMO labeling law, mandating that all items sold in Vermont grocery shops be labeled with GMOs beginning in July 2016, or face a fine.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), which represents Big Food firms like Monsanto, sued Vermont only one month after the state won GMO labeling. When Obama’s government enacted S. 764, the Roberts-Stabenow GMO bill, the first federal GMO labeling legislation, the case was rendered irrelevant.

The measure is known as the DARK Act, which stands for “Deny Americans the Right to Know.” Unlike Vermont’s legislation, the federal statute permits businesses to print QR codes and phone numbers that customers must scan or contact in order to find out whether a product contains GMOs. These exclusions make information less accessible, especially to lower-income customers who may not have cellphones capable of scanning QR codes. Monsanto endorsed the Roberts-Stabenow GMO law, which is unsurprising.


Labeling of Milk Hormones 

Monsanto has battled states over more than just food labeling. They also questioned dairy farmer labels that claimed their milk was hormone-free.

Monsanto started producing Posilac (rBST), or “recombinant bovine somatotropin,” a growth hormone used to boost milk output in dairy cows, in the early 1990s. They sold it to Eli Lilly in 2008, but not before waging a nationwide campaign on dairy labeling.

Higher levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IFG-1) in milk from rBST-treated cows may increase the risk of breast and prostate cancer. The European Union, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan have all banned the growth hormone.

Monsanto teamed up with dairy associations and developed phony “grassroots” organizations to push laws prohibiting the labeling of hormone-free dairy products.

Vermont attempted to impose labeling of milk from cows treated with rBST in 1994, shortly after it became available. The Grocery Manufacturers Association filed a lawsuit against Vermont, saying that the statute was unconstitutional. The legislation was invalidated when a federal judge ruled with GMA.

When customers grew more worried about what was in their food, the labeling problem resurfaced around a decade later. Dairies such as the Oakhurst Dairy in Portland, Maine, began labeling its milk as hormone-free. Monsanto filed false advertising cases against them, alleging that all milk contains natural hormones. Monsanto filed complaints with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at this period, attempting to get a countrywide prohibition on hormone milk labeling.

Monsanto battled at the state level after a countrywide ban failed. They teamed up with dairy associations and formed phony “grassroots” organizations, such as the Monsanto-backed American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology, to propose state-level legislation prohibiting hormone-free dairy labeling. Monsanto attempted this in Kansas, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, but none of the measures passed or were overturned in state courts.   

(For further information, see the links below.)

Dicamba Drift is number four on the list.

Glyphosate became much too popular for Monsanto’s comfort, resulting in the emergence of glyphosate-resistant superweeds. The pesticide Dicamba is Monsanto’s solution to their man-made ecological crisis.

The US Food and Drug Administration recently authorized Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant seed, prompting some farmers to spray the volatile pesticide on their crops before it was permitted. The unlawful spraying of dicamba is thought to have harmed three million acres of soybean crops in the United States. However, even newer formulations of the herbicide haven’t been shown to be much safer. 

In order to protect their farmers and economies, Arkansas, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Tennessee have all enacted some type of dicamba ban or limitation.

Missouri will begin banning dicamba in select counties on June 1, 2018, before enacting a statewide ban on July 15, 2018. From May 15 to October 1, Tennessee will prohibit earlier forms of dicamba and require farmers to utilize hood sprayers for newer formulations from July 15 to October 1.

Temperature restrictions have been set in North Dakota and Minnesota: Farmers won’t be able to spray dicamba until June of this year if the temperature is 85 degrees or above, since the herbicide evaporates more rapidly at hotter temperatures, making it more likely to drift into adjoining crops.

Despite the fact that images of damaged crops speak for themselves, Monsanto continues to fight these regulations.

In Pulaski County Circuit Court, Monsanto filed a lawsuit to prevent Arkansas’ planned dicamba ban from taking effect. The court, on the other hand, ruled that the case was moot since it hinged on future events and injuries that may or may not materialize. Despite Monsanto’s efforts, Arkansas legislators recently authorized a Dicamba application restriction that will be in effect from April 16 through October 31, 2018.


Pollution from Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) were extensively employed for their heat-retardant properties, notably as insulators in electrical equipment, until 1979, when they were prohibited. Melanoma, non-lymphoma, Hodgkin’s pancreatic and liver malignancies, and neurological problems have all been related to PCBs.

In 2016, a jury in St. Louis ordered Monsanto to pay $46.5 million in a case brought by residents of PCB-polluted neighborhoods who claimed the chemical caused their non-lymphoma. Hodgkin’s

These man-made organic compounds, in addition to hurting human health, are also dangerous for animals since they do not biodegrade naturally.

Monsanto is said to have produced 1.4 billion pounds of hazardous PCBs.

Monsanto is believed to have created 1.4 billion pounds of PCBs before they were banned. Despite the fact that PCBs have been allowed in the United States for almost 40 years, certain rivers in the country are still polluted.

When it rains, the chemicals might spread from their original source and harm rivers. Fish may eat them when they settle in sediment. The most prevalent method that people are exposed to PCBs nowadays is via contaminated seafood.

Decontaminating a body of water contaminated with PCBs, on the other hand, may be a time-consuming procedure. It entails either dredging polluted silt and removing it or covering it with layers of uncontaminated sediment.

Cities and states are now suing Monsanto to recover expenses associated with cleaning and stormwater system upgrading. Monsanto was allegedly aware of the hazards of PCBs and the likelihood of contamination before the chemical was outlawed, according to lawsuits.

On January 4, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum of Oregon filed a $100 million lawsuit against Monsanto for contaminating Oregon’s waterways, including Portland Harbor. Oregon claims that Monsanto knew for decades that PCBs were hazardous, according to the lawsuit. Similar cases have been brought in Washington state and places such as Seattle, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco. 

This isn’t the first time Monsanto has had to defend itself in court against PCB contamination. The soil was so poisoned in Anniston, Alabama, where Monsanto produced PCBs for 40 years, that children were instructed not to play in their yards.

Monsanto is accused of dumping tons of PCBs into a stream that runs near its Anniston manufacturing site. Monsanto paid for $700 million to compensate damages and cleaning expenses after 20,000 present and former residents filed complaints against the firm.

6. Pollution with dioxins

Monsanto was also creating 2, 4, 5-trichlorophenoxyacidic acid about the same time they were making PCBs (2, 4, 5-T). Agent Orange, the hazardous defoliant responsible for 400,000 fatalities and injuries in Vietnam, 500,000 birth deformities, and a handful of leukemia diagnoses among American soldiers, included 2, 4, 5-T as a significant constituent.

Monsanto produced 2, 4, 5-T at Nitro, West Virginia, from 1949 and 1971. The chemical created a dioxin byproduct, which is a recognized human carcinogen with no tolerable exposure limit. The chemical was made at the request of the US government, according to the company’s justification. However, they left behind a population that was being suffocated by dangerously high quantities of fatal pollutants.

Residents of Nitro were exposed to dioxins at levels 100,000 times greater than what is considered safe.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered Monsanto to investigate and clean up the polluted region in the mid-1980s, which resulted in the removal of 500 liters of dioxin-tainted soil. Local waterways, such as the Kanawha River, and landfills were also discovered to contain dioxins. Monsanto was responsible for the establishment of three active hazardous remediation sites in the area.

Residents of Nitro launched a class action complaint against Monsanto, claiming that the company’s operations poisoned the town with dioxins at levels 100,000 times greater than what is considered safe. More than a hundred lawsuits claimed that the pollution was the cause of their malignancies.

Monsanto agreed to pay $93 million to resolve a dioxin class action lawsuit in 2012, with $84 million going toward medical monitoring for previous and present Nitro residents and the remaining $9 million going toward professional cleaning of residences in the region.

While the state of West Virginia was not engaged in the lawsuit, the idea that a little community with a population of roughly 7,000 people was able to band together and hold a huge corporation like Monsanto responsible for its acts is inspirational.

You, too, have the ability to fight back.

Monsanto has repeatedly shown that it would go to any length to defeat rules that prioritize consumer safety above profit. You may be eligible for a lawsuit against Monsanto if you were diagnosed with non-lymphoma Hodgkin’s after using Roundup or experienced crop damage after using dicamba.

For a free, no-obligation legal consultation, contact our lawyers. It never costs you anything until you get a favorable decision or settlement.

Watch This Video-

The “Monsanto firm roundup settlement” is a class action lawsuit that was filed against Monsanto. The lawsuits were filed by people who claimed they had been negatively impacted by the company’s herbicide products. The lawsuits are still ongoing and have yet to be decided on. Reference: miller firm roundup settlement.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many lawsuits has Monsanto filed against farmers?

A: Monsanto has filed millions of lawsuits against farmers.

How many Roundup lawsuits have been settled?

A: There have been over 500 lawsuits filed against Roundup. The first one was in 1981 and it is still going on.

How many Monsanto lawsuits are there?

A: There are currently 555 Monsanto lawsuits. The lawsuit with the most claims is a class action filed in District Court, Northern District of California and has 3,636 plaintiffs.

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