The National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) sought an injunction against Monsanto’s sale of Roundup herbicide with a complaint filed on Wednesday in the Eastern District of Missouri. The association asked the court to enjoin Monsanto from continuing to market and sell Roundup products.
The complaint claimed “Monsanto’s Roundup is a prevalent and yet highly dangerous product. Although it has long been marketed as an entirely safe herbicide whose main benefit is that it can be indiscriminately sprayed on fields planted with Monsanto’s ‘Roundup Ready’ seeds, we now know that using Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate, in this way causes cancer—including Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (“NHL”), Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Lymphoma, Multiple Myeloma and/or Leukemia.” It cited other litigation where plaintiffs have sued for damages based on the products.
NBFA, however, noted that none of the previous lawsuits have attempted to get the product taken off of the shelves, and protect future farmers. They say the effort is “conspicuously absent” from other lawsuits.
The association said its members have been exposed to the herbicide, and possibly injured by it, without knowledge about the possible association with cancers. The complaint claimed NBFA is suited to litigate the case because its members are familiar with the situation. They said “because NBFA is an on-ground farm organization—that is in fact run entirely by Black farmers—they are only too familiar with how Monsanto has misled its members, and what it would take to stop its harms from continuing to propagate.”
The complaint purported that NBFA’s members frequently do not have internet access and rely on stores for information about the product, making them unaware of the potential dangers of Roundup use. It further claimed that Monsanto has not provided adequate safety training. The association alleged that Monsanto created a cycle with the sale of Roundup Ready seeds and Roundup products, which have been made more dangerous over time. The complaint said that “the only way to break this cycle is to force Monsanto to stop selling its carcinogenic product. And that requires the injunctive relief that NBFA has brought this action to pursue.”
NBFA alleged that Monsanto knows that Roundup is falsely advertised because the health concerns of the glyphosate-based herbicide are not addressed. Although the United States has not banned similar herbicides, the complaint cites actions in other countries to take action against the product.
The plaintiff said that if the court does not enjoin Monsanto from selling the product, that the company be enjoined to include visible warnings about the health impacts, similar to warnings on cigarette products.
NBFA, represented by Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC; Ben Crump Law; and Goldstein & Russell, P.C., brought claims of strict liability for design defects and failure to warn, unlawful trade practices, and negligence against Monsanto.