(Dec. 23, 2019) On Friday, December 20, 2019, the U.S. federal government announced to the world its fealty to Monsanto. The government filed an amicus brief that backs a Monsanto / Bayer bid to toss a $25 million verdict awarded to a California man whose lawyers proved to a jury last Spring that Monsanto’s Roundup caused his cancer. U.S. government lawyers filed the brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Ninth Circuit Court Appeals Court
The nation’s largest appeals court, headquartered in San Francisco, serves the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Any decision it makes could be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Even if the ninth court rejects “our” government’s effort to help Monsanto avoid legal responsibility for Roundup, the company will, in all likelihood, appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. There, it will try to escape all liability for Roundup lawsuits brought in state and federal courts across the country, using a tired old ploy called preemption. We can now alter Samuel Johnson’s aphorism that “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel” to read: “Preemption is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”
Preemption Ploy Stamped by US Govt.
Last week, the government filed a 33-page brief that echoed Bayer / Monsanto attorneys’ arguments. Both Monsanto, and the U.S. government, now claim that the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act preempts the claims of plaintiff Ed Hardeman. The Californian is one of more than 40,000 people who have filed Roundup cancer claims against Monsanto.
This preemption ploy – which drug companies applied successfully in 2011 to remove the civil rights of those injured by generic drugs (see Mensing v. Pliva) — claims that because the federal government has not seen fit to make Monsanto change its Roundup label to add a cancer warning, then Monsanto is off the hook for any liability.
The “Preemption” argument thus claims that states like California cannot impose “any requirements” for pesticide labeling “in addition to or different from” those required by the federal law.” Mr. Hardeman had cited California’s laws in his successful suit. This far-reaching, Draconian argument, which effectively nullifies an individual state’s, as well as an individual citizen’s rights, in favor of international corporations, was presented to the Ninth Circuit Court by attorneys from the U.S. Department of Justice (sic) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Government Lawyers for Monsanto
The government lawyers arguing for Monsanto wrote: “Plaintiff is wrong and his lawyers sailed directly into preempted territory in how they opted to try this case. The plain terms of FIFRA’s prohibition expressly preempt state pesticide labeling requirements, regardless of whether those requirements are expressed through positive enactments or common-law duties.”
Monsanto an Equal Opportunity Political Exploiter
Now, if one were looking for help from one political party or the other, one would be hard-pressed to find any relief at all. Monsanto is nothing if not an equal opportunity political exploiter. Through its deep pockets and a revolving door policy with its federal government “regulators” (like Michael R. Taylor, who has regularly switched from employment with Monsanto to the government and back again), the biotech bully from Missouri has long controlled both political parties. Monsanto’s own people, like Michael R. Taylor, regularly work IN government. In point of fact, they ARE the government, for all intents. They have become one with the government. They work from the inside, and then later take jobs with Monsanto or other chemical giants to collect their corporate loyalty awards.
On the Republican side, Trump’s EPA is firmly behind Monsanto. On the Democrat side, the Obama administration ushered the Monsanto Protection Act into law. Obama also helped the chemical monster – now owned by Bayer – act directly against the wishes of 90 percent of the American public. By an overwhelming majority, we want to know what we are eating; but with Obama’s help, Monsanto was able to pass the DARK Act to insulate itself from damage caused to the environment and people by its GMO Frankenfoods and its poison products like Roundup. Thanks to Obama and the rest of the Senate and House of Representative prostitutes that Monsanto has purchased with various donations and revolving door policies which the government fails to stop, “our” government now makes it virtually impossible for us to know what pesticides are in our foods and whether or not our food has been genetically perverted.
On March 27, 2019, a unanimous California jury found Monsanto liable for failing to warn that glyphosate could cause cancer.
After a day of deliberations, five women and one man found Monsanto liable on a failure-to-warn claim, a negligence claim and a design defect claim. The jury awarded Hardeman $200,967 in economic damages, approximately $5 million in future and past noneconomic damages and $75 million in punitive damages, all of which were later reduced by Judge Chhabria.
• U.S. Gov. backs Monsanto Bid to toss $25M Roundup Verdict