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Fergus County farmer sues Monsanto, claiming Roundup herbicide caused cancer

Fergus County farmer sues Monsanto, claiming Roundup herbicide caused cancer


A Denton farmer is suing Monsanto, claiming his cancer came from decades of using the herbicide Roundup.

Terry Knox, and his wife, Carolyn, filed their lawsuit in Cascade County District Court in April.

It’s not the first time a Montanan has sued the agribusiness, but it comes on the heels of major damages awarded to plaintiffs in similar lawsuits in California.

Terry Knox was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2018. He’d been using Roundup on his crops since 1982, according to the complaint.

Since Monsanto put Roundup on the market in 1974, the company has maintained the herbicide is safe for human health, even describing it in marketing materials as “safer than table salt,” the lawsuit notes.

But in 2015, the World Health Organization’s cancer agency concluded glyphosate — the active ingredient in Roundup — was a “probable carcinogen to humans.” The group found an increased risk between exposure to glyphosate and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

The Knoxes are seeking damages for pain and suffering, disability, economic losses, punitive damages, and court costs.

Bayer, which bought Monsanto in 2018, has maintained Roundup is safe for humans.

The Knoxes name Monsanto and its Great Falls sales representative who has never met the Knoxes, according to Monsanto.

Attorneys for Monsanto argue that suing the sales rep is merely a tactic to try the case in state court, often seen as a more favorable arena to plaintiffs.

Monsanto has removed the case to federal court, but Knox is seeking to bump it back to state court in Cascade County. 

The Knoxes are among thousands of plaintiffs across the country suing Monsanto.

To date, the company has seen three jury verdicts against it on lawsuits claiming Roundup caused cancer. Each was in California.

In August, a state jury awarded a groundskeeper $289 million, which a judge later reduced to $78 million.

Then in March, a federal jury awarded a property owner who had used the weed killer $80 million, which was later reduced to $25 million.

In May, another state jury leveled a $2 billion verdict against Monsanto in the case of a married couple who had used the herbicide on their property for decades. The company has said it will appeal.


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