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Legal/Litigation

Canada

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Fighting to uphold public participation rights in decision-making about risky pesticides (October 2020)   'Glyphosate is registered in Canada for spraying on the following crops after they’ve started growing: wheat, barley, oats, chickpeas, flax, lentils, mustard, dry beans, canola (GM), peas, soybean (GM), faba beans. Scientific studies have shown that when glyphosate is used on crops that are not physiologically mature, this results in an accumulation of glyphosate residues in the seeds of the crops. This means glyphosate’s presence can be found in our food, our water and where our children play.   Glyphosate poses an unacceptable risk to human health.   Understanding the risks that glyphosate poses, environmental and health organizations — including our clients and Safe Food Matters — requested Health Canada strike an independent review of the PMRA’s decision on glyphosate, stating that the PMRA did not properly account for all the relevant human health and environmental impacts when it made its decision.    A win in this case will uphold public participation rights under the Pest Control Products Act and ensure Canadians have a say in what’s allowed to be put into the air, water and land we all depend on.' 

also see food ,dicambachlorpyrifos

Parents Sue Manufacturer of Neurotoxic Insecticide Chlorpyrifos, Corteva (formerly Dow), for Causing Child’s Disabilities   (Beyond Pesticides, October 23, 2020)  'In central California, what promises to be a landmark series of lawsuits against Corteva (formerly DowAgroSciences), maker of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, is under way,.. This first suit, brought by the parents of Rafael Cerda Calderon, Jr. on his behalf, charges that his lifelong disabilities were caused by chronic exposures to chlorpyrifos. The parents are suing for general damages, compensatory damages (due to Rafael, Jr.’s loss of earning capacity), medical care costs, and “punitive damages for the willful, reckless, and recklessly indifferent conduct of the Defendants” in intentionally hiding the dangers of their chlorpyrifos products from customers and the public. As with so many dangerous pesticides, absent effective federal regulation, states, cities, and other entities are taking action to protect people from this compound, and as in this case, individuals are seeking redress for harms suffered.

Bayer-Monsanto, Committed to Continued Sales of Roundup™-Glyphosate, Announces $10.9 Billion Settlement with Cancer Victims, Protects Company from Future Trials by Jury   (Beyond Pesticides, June 25, 2020)     As expected, Bayer is not acknowledging any harm caused by glyphosate. According to chief executive officer of Bayer, Werner Baumann, “The decision to resolve the Roundup™ litigation enables us to focus fully on the critical supply of healthcare and food. It will also return the conversation about the safety and utility of glyphosate-based herbicides to the scientific and regulatory arena and to the full body of science.”   SNAP Comment: Considering how poorly regulatory agencies are doing in including independent science in their pestidie assessment, this means business as usual with little oversight.

Court Victory on Three Dicamba Weed Killers Underscores the Need to Reform Pesticide Law  (Beyond Pesticides, June 17, 2020) The June 3 decision in a high-profile “dicamba case” — against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and for the plaintiffs, a coalition of conservation groups — was huge news in environmental advocacy, agriculture, and agrochemical circles. The federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated EPA’s 2018 conditional registration of three dicamba weed killer products for use on an estimated 60 million acres of DT (dicamba-tolerant through genetic modification/engineering) soybeans and cotton. There is, however, a related issue that accompanies this and many other pesticide cases. When EPA decides to cancel or otherwise proscribe use of a pesticide (usually as a result of its demonstrated toxicity and/or damage during litigation), the agency will often allow pesticide manufacturers to continue to sell off “existing stocks” of a pesticide, or growers and applicators to continue to use whatever stock they have or can procure.'    SNAP Comment: The article also discusses other tacticsusedby the EPA  to deal with cancellation of pesticide uses while treading lightly on industry interests. The PMRA does the same in Canada. 

'Victory for Farmers' as Jury Awards Grower $265 Million in Damages From Drift of Monsanto's Dicamba  (by Andrea Germanos, staff writer, Common Dreams, 17 February 2020)   'The jury sided with Bader Farms on Friday and awarded them $15 million in damages, as St. Louis Public Radio reported:   Monsanto and BASF were found liable for negligent design of the products and negligent failure to warn regarding the products. The jury also found that the two companies created a joint venture to manufacture and sell dicamba-resistant seed and low-volatility herbicides, and that they conspired to create an "ecological disaster" to increase profits.  Pesticide Action Network welcomed the development as well.  "This verdict is just the tip of the iceberg — there is a long queue of farmers who have been impacted by dicamba drift and deserve their day in court," said Linda Wells, Pesticide Action Network organizing director. "The internal Monsanto (now Bayer) documents uncovered in this case show that the company released a highly destructive and intentionally untested product onto the market, and used its influence to cheat the regulatory system."   "While farmers who don't use the Xtend system are hit with crop damage and yield loss from dicamba drift, Bayer and BASF are reaping the financial gains of an increase in acreage planted to dicamba resistant soybeans, and an increase in use of dicamba formulations," Wells continued. "Bader Farms' victory in this case signals a turning tide, and opens opportunities for farmers to hold Bayer and BASF legally accountable for the dicamba drift crisis more broadly." also see Bader Farms Wins $265 Million in Lawsuit Against Bayer’s Monsanto, BASF   (Beyond Pesticides, February 20, 2020)

Farmer Takes Bayer/Monsanto to Court for Crop Damage Caused by the Herbicide Dicamba  (Beyond Pesticides, February 6, 2020)  'Mr. Bader says that not only did he lose over 30,000 trees, his remaining peaches are now smaller and his trees are less productive. According to Bader, the damage has cost him $20.9 million for which he seeks restitution. The case is claiming that Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, and German partner company BASF knew that the sale of their products would result in crop damage due to drift, but sold dicamba-resistant cotton and soybean seeds anyway. The companies deny the claims.   The damage occurring was part of the plan,” said plaintiff attorney Billy Randles in an opening statement. “The damage was an essential element of selling this product.” Randles said that Monsanto could not control the product in their own greenhouse pointed to internal company discussions where the defendants “so thoroughly anticipated the problem” that they came up with a term for those who were impacted: “driftees.”    Steve Smith, the director of agriculture at world’s largest canned tomato processor, Red Gold Inc., testified at the trial that Monsanto had many warnings regarding the risk dicamba posed to farmers. Mr. Smith was a member of an advisory council to Monsanto on dicamba. “We told them (Monsanto) over and over again it was not a good idea,” said Smith in an interview with Sierra, “They keep saying it’s a matter of educating the growers. But the problem is not education; the problem is chemistry.”'

Monsanto loses effort to head off St. Louis trial that starts next week   (by Carey Gillam, US Right to Know -USRTK_, January 16, 2020}   'Hogan further frustrated Monsanto by ordering Thursday that the trial could be audio and video recorded and broadcast to the public. In ruling against Monsanto’s bid for summary judgment, Judge Hogan shot down an assortment of arguments asserted by the company’s lawyers, including Monsanto’s repeated effort to claim that because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concludes glyphosate is not carcinogenic, a federal legal  preemption exists.  “Defendant has not cited a single case that holds that the EPA’s regulatory scheme preempts claims such as Plaintiffs’,” Judge Hogan said in her ruling. “Every court presented with this issue has rejected it.”  With respect to the company’s argument that a jury should not be entitled to consider punitive damages, the judge said that would be a matter for consideration after seeing evidence presented at trial.'

Forest spraying violates treaty: Elders  (by Helen Morley, The Daily Press, September 5, 2019)    SNAP Comment: It doesn't matter that the PMRA is sticking by their evaluation of glyphosate as safe. The main issue here is that it destroys the hardwoods, brush and food plants that First Nations rely on and if some survive, they are contaminated. That is what a herbicide does. Ecological consequences on a large scale are not evaluated in the pesticide registration process. How can the PMRA contest that the whole ecology of the forest isn't changed by widespread application of glyphosate? Looks to me that the First Nations might win.

EPA Sued for Registering Known Bee-Killing Pesticide for Use on Bee-Attractive Crops  (Beyond Pesticides, August 27, 2019) 'The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the subject to a new legal challenge from environmental groups after approving the use an insecticide shown to be highly toxic to bees and other pollinators. The lawsuit, filed in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals by the Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Food Safety, aims to stop the use of sulfoxaflor on more than 200 million acres of crops.'...'The agency regularly permits use on pollinator-attractive crops under the “emergency” exemption loophole in federal pesticide law. Most recently, the agency used this loophole during Pollinator Week 2019, despite a recent report from the Office of Inspector General chastising the agency for its abuse of this provision.'

Starbucks Sued for Illegally Using Carcinogenic Pesticide Near Food and Beverages  Hot Shot No Pest Strip placed near bagels and pastries in Starbucks store(Beyond Pesticides, June 4, 2019) A class-action lawsuit is accusing Starbucks stores in New York of misusing a highly toxic, carcinogenic pesticide near food, putting the health of customers and employees at risk. “Stores throughout Manhattan have for many years been permeated with a toxic pesticide called Dichlorvos DDVP, which is highly poisonous and completely unfit for use in proximity to food, beverages and people,” the suit reads. SNAP Comment: There are dichlorvos pesticide forrmulations still registered in Canada. They include Vapona. The pesticide is to be used indoors, for fogging Food Processing Plants, Industrial Plants, Theatres, Warehouse and mushroom houses, Also for dairies, piggeries, poultry houses and barns, and for outdoor mosquito control and 'space spray.' Most exterminators in Saskatchewan use pesticides first rather than integrated pest management which should mean starting with the least toxic approach first.

California Jury Awards $2 Billion To Couple In Roundup Weed Killer Cancer Trial   (NPR, May 13, 2019)  'Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group said "The cloud hanging over Bayer will only grow bigger and darker, as more juries hear how Monsanto manipulated its own research, colluded with regulators and intimidated scientists to keep secret the cancer risks from glyphosate."'  More detailed arguments at  Monsanto hit with $2 billion damages verdict in third Roundup trial * (GM Watch, 14 May 2019) also  Jury Awards $2 Billion for Damages in Third Federal Roundup Cancer Case  (Beyond Pesticides, May 15, 2019) 'In an interview with U.S. Right to Know’s Carey Gillam, co-lead trial counsel Michael Miller said, “Unlike the first two Monsanto trials, where the judges severely limited the amount of plaintiffs’ evidence, we were finally allowed to show a jury the mountain of evidence showing Monsanto’s manipulation of science, the media and regulatory agencies to forward their own agenda despite Roundup’s severe harm to the animal kingdom and humankind.”

Monsanto's Roundup Likely Caused Cancer, Calif. Jury Says (Law36 , March 19, 2019) delivering a major blow to the Bayer AG unit in the first such federal bellwether trial and setting the stage for a second phase to determine damages... The case will now proceed to the second trial phase to determine whether Monsanto failed to warn Hardeman about the product's alleged cancer risks, as well as any damages. The parties will present opening arguments in the next phase of the trial on Wednesday. also covered by GM Watch and Beyond Pesticides

U.S. judge to allow controversial evidence in Roundup cancer trials   (by Tina Bellon, CNBC, from Reuters. Jan, 28 2019)  'Under Chabria’s order, that evidence would be allowed only if glyphosate was found to have caused plaintiff Edwin Hardeman’s cancer and the trial proceeded to a second phase to determine Bayer’s liability.'

Monsanto Sued for Misleading Labeling of Popular Herbicide Roundup  (Beyond Pesticides, April 10, 2017) Two nonprofit organizations on Friday filed a lawsuit against Monsanto for misleading the public by labeling its popular weedkiller Roundup as “targeting an enzyme found in plants but not in people or pets.” This lawsuit charges that this statement is false, deceptive, and misleading, because the enzyme targeted by glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is, in fact, found in people and pets.

French court confirms Monsanto liable in chemical poisoning case (Reuters, 11 September 2016)  I had no idea about this case. This is from the herbicide Lasso (alachlor). A PMRA label search for all records (including historical ones) indicates it apparently was not registered in Canada. If anyone knows different, please let me know) It was registered in the US and many other countries of the world, although considered a restricted herbicide in US by 1985. It is very educational to read  about alachlor on extoxnet  It shows how inadequate regulatory testing is (if it wasn't for cancer, it would be considered low toxicity}, and how few end points are considered in toxicity evaluation. It does not appear to have been tested for neurological problems, likely because it is not an insecticide that is know to act this way. 
Good general info at alachlor on Wikipedia. The final decision in France's Court of Appeal will comeon Feb. 6, 2019. 

Dow Subsidiary To Pay $2 Million For Making False Safety Claims In Pesticide Ads (Letitia James, NY Attorney General, 15 Decembeer 2003)   regarding chlorpyrifos. "This is the largest enforcement penalty ever obtained in a pesticide case...Spitzer sued Dow for repeatedly violating a 1994 agreement with New York State prohibiting advertising touting the safety of its pesticide products. As part of the 1994 agreement, the company agreed to stop making claims that its products were "safe." However, an investigation by Spitzer's office found that almost immediately after the company entered into the agreement it once again began to make misleading safety claims in its print, video and internet advertising. Includes a more complete list of false and misleading safety claims made by Dow in  attached tables.