Plaintiffs in two cases, which were added to the consolidated Roundup multidistrict litigation lawsuit in the Northern District of California, asked for their cases to be remanded back to the state court system. The plaintiffs, Shirley Roybal and Gail Carson, said that removal was “substantively improper.”
The plaintiffs in each case were represented by Gibbs Law Group LLP, Trammell, PC, and Kirkendall Dwyer LLP. They claimed that Monsanto, which moved the case, could not meet its burden to show that there was a diversity of citizenship, and that the defendants specific to their cases, Wilbur-Ellis Co., LLC and Wilbur-Ellis Nutrition, LLC, were “not fraudulently joined,” as Monsanto claimed, which would be required under United States code.
Roybal and Carson are both California residents who applied Monsanto’s Roundup product on their residences. They were each later diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and claimed their illnesses were “proximately caused” by use and exposure to Roundup. They filed lawsuits in 2020 against Monsanto and Wilbur-Ellis, a company that sells herbicides including Roundup.
Both motions alleged that the federal court did not have jurisdiction over the cases because at least one of the defendants, Wilbur-Ellis, is a citizen of California, where the lawsuits were filed. Monsanto reportedly claimed that the California defendants were fraudulently joined, but the motions explained that this is not the case because the plaintiff stated a cause against the Wilbur-Ellis defendants. The plaintiffs alleged that Monsanto did not present sufficient evidence to show the jointer was fraudulent and that its argument that the company was not involved in the plaintiffs’ distribution chain was “simply untenable.”
Monsanto claimed that Wilbur-Ellis distributes to a “limited market,” which would not include the plaintiffs, but the motions quote that the company boasts that it is a “global service leader” and creates solutions for “every crop, grower, and field,” which would include the plaintiffs.
A hearing on the motions will be held on November 5th.