SIOUX CITY -- Less than a week after a California jury awarded a man with cancer a $289 million verdict against Monsanto, a former Siouxlander sued the pesticide maker in Sioux City.
Ray Harry says in his lawsuit that his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was caused by Roundup, one of the world's most widely used herbicides used on crops, lawns and gardens and manufactured by Monsanto.
Harry's suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Sioux City on Aug. 14, says that since introducing the herbicide glyphosate, an ingredient in Roundup, in 1974, St. Louis-based Monsanto has presented the product as safe to humans and the environment though there is evidence to the contrary.
"Monsanto has led a prolonged campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general population that Roundup is safe," the lawsuit said.
A San Francisco jury on Aug. 10 awarded a terminally ill man also suffering from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma $289 million in damages. The former school groundskeeper had argued that the glyphosate in Roundup likely caused his cancer.
Monsanto has denied the chemical's link to cancer and said it will appeal the verdict.
"Glyphosate does not cause cancer. The verdict was wrong," Monsanto vice president Scott Partridge said in a statement posted on the company's website.
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Harry said he had used Roundup on his property for 23 years, first in Alcester, South Dakota, from 1988-2006 and in May City, Iowa, from 2011-16. Harry, who now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in September.
The suit said Harry was not aware of the health risks posed by glyphosate until sometime in 2015, when the International Agency for Research on Cancer said the chemical is a probable cause of cancer in humans. It's mostly associated with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a report from the agency said.
Harry's attorney, Brian Galligan, of Des Moines, could not be reached for comment.
Monsanto said that lawsuits like the one in California are the result of trial lawyers looking to sue the company in the wake of that 2015 IARC report. Hundreds of cancer-patient lawsuits have been filed against the company across the United States since then.
"There were no lawsuits blaming glyphosate for cancer until after IARC's opinion. A federal judge overseeing some of these lawsuits recently state that plaintiffs' evidence is 'shaky' and any lawyer faces a 'daunting challenge' in bringing a case to trial based on IARC's opinion," Monsanto's Partridge said in his statement after the California jury verdict.
Harry is seeking compensatory and punitive damages against Monsanto, claiming the company was negligent by failing to design and produce a safe product and by continuing to manufacture and sell a product it knew was unsafe. The lawsuit said Monsanto has ignored or concealed the findings of several studies exposing the health risks of Roundup, and the company failed to report those findings to the public, instead representing Roundup as a safe product.