Both sides of Roundup cancer lawsuits present experts at hearing on March 5
A Daubert Hearing for the federal Monsanto Roundup litigation is scheduled to begin on Monday, March 5, 2018 at US District Court, Northern District of California in San Francisco. More than 365 Roundup cancer lawsuits against Monsanto have been combined in a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL - In re Roundup Products Liability Litigation - Case Number: 3:16-md-02741-VC) before US District Judge Vince Chhabria. The hearing will begin at 10:00 AM on Monday in Courtroom 8, 19th Floor and will continue at various start times throughout the rest of the week.
What is a Daubert Hearing?
At a Daubert Hearing, the plaintiff and the defence legal teams present their experts to educate the court on the science behind both sides of the Roundup cancer connection. The plaintiffs must demonstrate that they have scientific evidence to back their claims that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).
On March 5, Judge Chhabria will oversee the Daubert hearing for the MDL. A Daubert hearing is an evaluation to determine the admissibility of testimony from expert witnesses.
In this case, Judge Chhabria will determine if the experts providing scientific opinions regarding causation will be permitted to testify at trial. The focus in those determinations is whether the experts used a recognized, reliable methodology for arriving at their opinions, which is an important difference from actually determining that Roundup causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
If Judge Chhabria determines that the experts used valid methodologies, then the cases would proceed to trial and the experts would provide evidence and testimony regarding whether Roundup generally causes NHL and additionally whether that propensity for inducing NHL caused a particular Roundup user’s NHL. The jury would then decide whether the evidence more likely than not shows Roundup caused the individual’s NHL.
Plaintiffs’ expert witnesses
Attorneys for the plaintiffs announced the following experts in order of scheduled appearance:
Dr Beate Ritz, M.D., Ph.D. – Dr Ritz is the Chair of the Epidemiology Department at UCLA, which is one of only a few positions specifically assigned to the Center of Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH) mandated by the State of California to conduct research, teaching and service to communities in California on occupational and environmental health issues.
Dr Ritz has doctoral degrees in Medicine and Epidemiology. She has authored numerous toxicology publications lectures and presentations. Dr Ritz engaged in a systematic review of the literature in this case, utilized the Bradford Hill Criteria, and concluded that “to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, glyphosate causes NHL. Furthermore, to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, glyphosate based formulations, including Roundup, cause NHL.”
Expert Report of Dr Ritz:
Dr Dennis Weisenburger, MD – Dr Weisenburger is Chair of the Pathology Department of the City of Hope Medical Center. He specializes in the studies of the hematopoietic and immune systems, with a special interest in NHL that has spanned nearly 40 years. His study of the pathological mechanisms by which NHL develops began in the 1980s when he was directing large epidemiologic studies related to NHL.
Dr Weisenburger has published over 300 papers on NHL in peer-reviewed journals, and over 50 papers on the epidemiology of NHL, including studies on glyphosate and NHL. Dr Weisenburger engaged in a systematic review of the literature in this case, utilized the Bradford Hill Criteria, and concluded that to “a reasonable degree of medical certainty that glyphosate and GBFs (including Roundup) can cause NHL in humans exposed to these chemicals in the workplace or environment”.
Expert Report of Dr Weisenburger:
Dr Alfred Neugut, MD, PhD – Dr Neugut is a practicing medical oncologist, a Professor of Cancer Research and Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Columbia University, and Associate Director for Population Sciences for the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Dr Neugut was awarded the Myron M. Studner Professorship in Cancer Research in the Department of Medicine. He is also the Director of Junior Faculty Development for the Department of Epidemiology, overseeing about 30 assistant professors. Dr Neugut has published over 500 articles in medical journals dealing primarily with carcinogenesis of various agents and compounds.
Dr Neugut engaged in a systematic review of the literature in this case, used the Bradford Hill Criteria, and concluded that “epidemiologic and scientific evidence currently available leads to the conclusion to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty for most expert, objective, and reasonable viewers, myself included, that the use of glyphosate in its various combinations can cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma”.
Expert Report of Dr Neugot:
Dr Charles Jameson, PhD – Dr Jameson completed a PhD in Organic Chemistry in 1975 at the University of Maryland. He has worked for National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute (NCI) as a senior chemist for the NCI's Rodent Bioassay Program where he served as chief chemist, directing all chemistry activities and participating in the development of all two-year rodent bioassays while also serving as secretary for the NCI's Chemical Selection Working Group.
Dr Jameson also served as program leader for the National Toxicology Program at the NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) for 12 years, during which time he was listed as a contributor to over one hundred chemical peer reviewed bioassay studies. Dr Jameson worked on the NTP's Report on Carcinogens (RoC) for more than 18 years and is the Senior Author for 69 NTP RoC Background Documents, also serving as the RoC Director for 13 years.
Dr Jameson has participated as an IARC Working Group member, serving as overall Chair or Subgroup Chair, and he is author or co-author in numerous peer reviewed scientific publication and book chapters, as well as the editor of several editions of the RoC and co-editor of two books on toxicity testing. Dr Jameson is a member of the American Chemical Society and the Society of Toxicology and he participates in peer reviews for six scientific journals.
Dr Jameson engaged in a systematic review of the literature in this case, utilized a weight-of-evidence methodology utilized by NTP and IARC, and concluded that to a “reasonable degree of scientific certainty that glyphosate and glyphosate based formulations are probable human carcinogens” and also concluded “to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty that glyphosate and glyphosate-based formulations cause NHL in humans”.
Expert Report of Dr Jameson:
Dr Christopher Portier, PhD – Dr Portier received his PhD in Biostatistics (with a minor in Epidemiology) from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1981. For over 32 years, Dr Portier held prominent leadership positions with the federal government that combined the disciplines of toxicology, statistics and epidemiology, including:
* Associate Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) National Toxicology Program and thus the nation’s chief toxicologist, among other roles at NIEHS
* Director of the National Center for Environmental Health, Center for Disease and Prevention
* Director of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
Dr Portier is a member of the Society of Toxicology and the American Public Health Association. Dr Portier has also received many awards for his government and non-government work including the Best Paper Award from the Society of Toxicology, Merit Award from the National Institutes of Health, several “Paper of the Year” awards from the Society of Toxicology, the Outstanding Risk Practitioner Award of the Society for Risk Analysis, and was an elected fellow of the International Statistical Institute.
He has published 164 peer-reviewed articles, 35 journal reviews, 33 book chapters, and 46 reports and government agency publications, and he has participated in six IARC working groups, either as Chair or a working group member. His experience encompasses the design, performance and analysis of studies, including animal bioassays (as well as the supervision thereof), that evaluate the carcinogenic effects of chemicals and pesticides on humans.
Dr Portier engaged in a systematic review of the literature in this case, utilized the Bradford Hill Criteria, and concluded that “[i]n my opinion, glyphosate probably causes NHL and, given the human, animal and experimental evidence, I assert that, to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, the probability that glyphosate causes NHL is high”.
Expert Report of Dr Portier:
Dr Aaron Blair / Dr Matthew Ross – by videotape deposition testimony. Dr Aaron Blair is a Scientist Emeritus at the National Cancer Institute Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch. He is a lead investigator of the Agricultural Health Study and the Overall Chair of the IARC 112 working group. Dr Blair explained at his deposition how he weighed the totality of the epidemiology studies to support his opinion that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen.
Dr Matthew Ross is an Associate Professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine, at Mississippi State University. He has a PhD in Molecular Biology and expertise on the impact of environmental toxins on signal transduction pathways in cells. He was a part of the mechanism section of the IARC 112 working group. Dr Ross explains why the strong evidence that glyphosate is genotoxic and causes oxidative stress are relevant to carcinogenicity in humans.
Dr Chadi Nabhan, MD, FACP – Dr Nabhan is a board-certified clinical medical oncologist and past Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago. Currently, Dr Nabhan serves as Medical Director of Cardinal Health. His clinical practice and academic research for the past 17 years has focused on lymphomas.
Dr Nabhan also has a sub-specialty in the treatment of lymphomas. Until last year, he treated approximately 30 lymphoma patients per week. Dr Nabhan regularly relies on both epidemiology and toxicology studies in his clinical practice and is well versed in the etiology, background and treatment of NHL. Dr Nabhan engaged in a systematic review of the literature in this case, utilized the Bradford Hill Criteria, and concluded that “[t]he weight of the scientific evidence supports causality between Roundup/glyphosate exposure and NHL.”
Expert Report of Dr Nabhan:
Monsanto expert witnesses
Attorneys for Monsanto announced the following experts in order of scheduled appearance:
Thomas J. Rosol, DVM, PhD – Dr Rosol, DVM, PhD, MBA is a professor of veterinary and experimental pathology, Chair of Biomedical Sciences, ACVP diplomate; former dean and vice president for research at Ohio State University. He serves as Senior Advisor, Biotechnology, at the university’s Office of Technology Commercialization and Knowledge Transfer.
He served on boards to the NIH, USDA, EPA, AVMA, and Morris Animal Fdn and was a consultant in preclinical safety in endocrine, bone, and reproductive pathology and models of cancer. He investigates hypercalcemia, bone metastasis, prostate, breast, and head and neck cancer and is a mentor for over 50 PhD students and postdocs. Dr Rosal received his PhD in Experimental Pathobiology from Ohio State University in 1986. He received his D.V.M. in 1981 from the University of Illinois.
Christopher D. Corcoran, ScD – Dr Corcoran is a professor of Mathematics and Statistics and Director of Data Management and Statistics Core, Center for Epidemiologic Studies, at Utah State University.
Dr Corcoran earned his ScD Biostatistics (with a minor in Genetic Epidemiology) in 1999 at Harvard University.
Jay I. Goodman, PhD – Dr Goodman is a professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology
at Michigan State University. His research interests are focused on discerning epigenetic mechanisms underlying carcinogenesis and other chemical-induced toxicities.
Dr Goodman received his PhD in Pharmacology in 1969 at The University of Michigan. He completed postdoctoral training at the University of Wisconsin. He has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award, Long Island University, College of Pharmacy, 1998; was Elected President of the Society of Toxicology, 1999-2000; the Distinguished Alumnus Award, Doctoral Program in Pharmacology, The University of Michigan, 2000; gave the John Barnes Prize Lecture, British Toxicology Society in 2005; and is the recipient of the Society of Toxicology's Merit Award, 2014.
Lorelei A. Mucci, ScD, MPH – Dr Mucci is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her major research and teaching area is cancer epidemiology.
Dr Mucci earned a BS in Biology at Tufts University, an MPH in Epidemiology from Boston University, and an ScD in Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Monsanto faces thousands of Roundup cancer lawsuits nationwide
Thousands of individuals from across the country have filed lawsuits against Monsanto alleging exposure to Roundup weed killer caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In addition to the federal MDL in San Francisco, people from California, Nebraska, Delaware, and Missouri have filed claims in state courts making similar allegations.
The first trial in the Roundup cancer litigation is a state court case filed in San Francisco Superior by plaintiff DeWayne Johnson, who is represented by The Miller Firm, LLC. The Johnson case will begin on June 18, 2018. Another state court case will be heard in St Louis, Missouri in October 2018.
Since the beginning of the litigation against Monsanto, the law firm of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman and the other firms leading the litigation have led the fight to declassify court documents that consist of internal Monsanto studies, company reports, emails, text messages, and other memoranda.
These documents, known as The Monsanto Papers, include information that Monsanto does not want the public to see. They allow the public to look behind the curtain of secrecy that normally shrouds ongoing litigation and see firsthand how Monsanto has engaged in ghostwriting, scientific manipulation and collusion with regulatory agencies (including the EPA). The documents also include previously undisclosed information about how the body absorbs glyphosate and the dangers associated with the other ingredients that make up the Roundup formulated product.
Source: Baum Hedlund Aristei Goldman