Chapman et al v. Monsanto Company

Firm: Covington & Burling

Issue Area: Environment, Climate, & Fossil Fuels

Case summary

Covington & Burling LLP has represented Monsanto and Bayer in a number of cases alleging that exposure to the companys' herbicides caused cancer. Covington has tried to block liability by blaming the EPA, arguing it has complied with applicable environmental laws. Covington regularly touts wins in these representations on its website. In this case, plaintiffs, the Chapmans, sued Monsanto alleging that Mr. Chapman's exposure to Roundup from 1995-2004 caused cancer. Mr. Chapman was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia in February 2003. The lawsuit attempts to hold Monsanto liable for its use of glyphosate, a known carcinogen, among other harmful chemicals in its product, Roundup.

Excerpt from the firm's work product

In its Motion to Dismiss, Covington argued that the EPA, not Monsanto, is to blame for Monsanto's product: "EPA was fully informed of the supposed evidence that glyphosate is carcinogenic, because it “performed an independent evaluation of available data,” including registrant data, publicly available studies, and IARC’s monograph before rejecting that glyphosate is carcinogenic . . . . Accordingly, there is no possible dispute of fact that EPA’s regulatory framework governed the specific risk at issue here, and Roundup has been, and remains, fully compliant with EPA governance in both its glyphosate formulation and labeling. Monsanto is entitled, as a matter of law, to a presumption of non-liability under Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 82.008(a)." Motion to Dismiss on No-Liability Issue at 5-6.

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