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Hi everyone, I’m Attorney Dennis VanDerGinst. I’m the president and CEO of VanDerGinst Law. I’d like to welcome you all to our VanDerGinst Law Virtual Town Hall. We’ll be discussing legal and consumer related topics with some of the foremost experts in the country. We’ve asked for questions from our online followers in advance, and this content may also be used in one of our podcasts.
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Today, I’m happy and proud to announce that our guests are Barbara Capasso and John Ray. They are the founders of Mass Tort Nexus. Mass Tort Nexus is an incredible educational resource on the practice of mass torts, specifically pharmaceutical and medical device litigation.
And essentially what they do is teach, consult and provide in-depth knowledge and research to plaintiffs law firms across the country, including VanDerGinst Law. We’re happy to say that we consult with them each week on mass tort issues. We’re happy to have them here today to provide their expert insights into the Roundup litigation.
And I also want to welcome Kitka Galvin, who is our lead paralegal and the mass tort coordinator at VanDerGinst Law.
So, John and Barb, to start our discussion, can one of you explain to us what Roundup is?
What is Roundup?
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup that kills certain plants while not killing others. I am going to tell the business story first of why Monsanto, the originator of Roundup, and then Bayer that bought Monsanto, their business strategy that ultimately led to many people being harmed, who didn’t have to be harmed.
Obviously, when you have a product that is intended to kill something that is living, like a plant, well, that’s called something that is cytotoxic. Cyto means life. Toxic means toxic. You know what toxic means.
So if farm workers were the only ones using a product like this, it’s very easy to instruct them to wear protective clothing. You’ve seen the white suits, breathing masks and so forth. But when you want to sell a product to homeowners as well, it’s kind of difficult to tell people, “yeah, you can use this on the weeds in your yard, but you need to cover yourself head to toe, wear a face mask and a breathing mask”.
That would not be a viable marketing strategy. Obviously, the makers of the product understood the product. They understood how it killed living things. Now human beings are more complex than plants, but something that would kill a plant, the probability that it would harm or cause genetic mutations that lead to cancer or so forth in human beings was something that should have been investigated thoroughly versus avoiding investigating, avoiding finding out the dangers related to their product.
And as a result, over a period of many, many years of it being used and more and more individuals ending up with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that were exposed, especially routinely exposed like avid home gardeners, as well as people who worked on commercial farms.
The weight of that evidence led to further research to show from a scientific standpoint, not only that Roundup causes Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but how it causes Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
And as a result, now we are involved in the Roundup litigation and attorneys, like Dennis, are trying to get people who use the product with no idea that it might cause cancer compensation for for their injuries, but also the economic loss that they’ve suffered as a result of having to be treated for cancer if they were fortunate enough to live.
Well, and something else that I think is important to note is the active ingredient in Roundup has been labeled as a probable carcinogen in almost every civilized first world country in the world.
Our EPA and our FDA have not labeled it as such, but interestingly enough, in Europe and other countries, they won’t allow it to be used at all. So I find that something that I think the public would be very interested to know.
And when organizations like the World Health Organization, which has a separate division that studies nothing about cancer, when they put the probable carcinogen label on a product, the only reason that they can’t say “definite carcinogen”, is you would have to do human trials.
So you would have to take a group of people, give half of them a placebo, something that does nothing like a sugar pill, and half of them something that you believe is going to cause them cancer. You can’t do that.
The way things become labeled “definite carcinogens” like asbestos, because decades and decades of exposure to humans, not in a clinical trial, but in the natural setting in the world occurs. And that gets you to the “definite carcinogen”.
Fortunately, in civil litigation and lawsuits, we don’t have to prove “definite”. We only have to prove more likely than not. So when the World Health Organization and every other major cancer organization in the world labeled it as a “probable carcinogen”, that’s all. That’s all we need. That’s all the evidence we need.
How Many Existing Roundup Cases Are There?
Also of note at the moment, as of today, there are over 25,000 Roundup claims filed in the United States and more coming in every day. And as John mentioned, it’s not just agricultural workers.
Many, many of the claims are filed by people who just use Roundup at their household, on their plants, in their driveway to get rid of weeds. So we are not just litigating for the agricultural workers, but also for those of you who use it at home.
Very important to understand and know, okay?
And I think that’s a great point that you that you raise. And of course, we have had folks who have reached out to us, both from an agricultural and and the home owner that’s using it in their residences.
And you’ve alluded to it, John, but I just want to clarify that with respect to the alleged problems, we’re talking about cancer. And specifically, you mentioned Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Are there other cancers that we’re looking at as far as being potentially caused by exposure?
Types of Cancer Allegedly Caused By Roundup
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the primary cancer. However, as with any cancer Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma can metastasize.
Cancer cells that are Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cells can make it to another part of the body and develop a tumor or cause cancer there.
So no, it’s not just Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, it’s also cancer secondary to Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
So anyone that is suffering from a potential secondary cancer, or cancer secondary to Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma should reach out and contact our office to see if we can investigate to determine whether or not you have a potential claim.
Speaking of the claims, and I know you’ve mentioned Monsanto as a potential defendant, what is the current status of the litigation?
The Current Status of Roundup Litigation
Well, actually, this is very urgent. If any of you watching or listening believe that you qualify for this claim, I urge you to call now. Don’t wait, because we are already in the settlement phase of this litigation.
There’s still time.
But I would urge you to call as soon as possible, because not only will we talk to you about your particular case, but we have to also have a little bit time to prove it up and file it.
So this is the most urgent case of all that you call immediately and find out if you qualify. Now, please understand that Monsanto, as you may know, makes Roundup. But Bayer, the pharmaceutical company, Bayer purchased Roundup.
Purchased Monsanto, correct.
The thing is, Monsanto’s signature product is Roundup. Everyone knows that that’s the majority of the revenue for Monsanto is from Roundup. So Bayer bought them. So now both Bayer and Monsanto are the defendants in this case.
And Bayer has already told their stockholders several months ago that they intended to put up a little over ten billion dollars U.S. to settle the litigation. That’s not enough. They’re going to have to put up more.
But I think it’s safe to say that Bayer does not intend to fight this to the death, fight long-term. There at that phase that, what we call “buying their peace”, settling the case, and compensating people.
Now, it’s just a matter of them coming up with the right amount and it needs to be more than 10 billion dollars for everyone they’ve hurt.
How Much is A Roundup Lawsuit Worth?
And if you’ve been following the news at all, I’m sure you’ve seen some of the big verdicts over the years that we’ve gotten in the Roundup cases across the country.
So obviously, that’s one of the reasons they’ve settled because we keep beating them at trial. Now, that’s not to say that we won’t have maybe one or two more trials, but it’s very unlikely.
The likelihood that all of these cases will be settled by next year is very probable.
And I’m glad you mentioned that, Barb. I know in the context of other mass torts we had discussed what the probability or the possibility is of folks that are listening in, if they had a potential claim, if they were wondering, “well, will I have to go to trial?”, and I think you just kind of address that, that there may be another trial or two.
However, there have already been some very successful trials and we don’t anticipate that anybody that’s listening or watching right now will will be involved in any upcoming trial.
So I guess what I’d like, if you can I’d like for the two of you to do is, kind of sum up what what would potentially qualify someone who’s listening in right now or watching this, what would qualify them to participate in the litigation?
What might they be likely looking at in the way of compensation. What does the future look like for someone who believes that they might have a claim?
OK, first of all, something we didn’t touch on, which is very important to this case. You can’t just have a diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. You must have also had treatment, because I oftentimes hear when folks call your firm and other firms that folks will call and say, “I have a diagnosis of non Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but I’ve never been treated”.
You must be diagnosed and treated. That’s the first thing.
The next thing is we can not tell you what your claim will pay. No one can. But we can give you a range, I suppose.
So right now, based on the settlements that have already occurred in this litigation, you could be paid as little as ten or fifteen thousand dollars and as much as two hundred thousand dollars.
It depends on your particular injuries and your particular claim. And it’s not VanDerGinst Law that will be deciding this for you. It’s actually the court system and what they deem your injuries to be worth.
And understand also, as Dennis mentioned before, that you will only pay if you are awarded monies, and your fee is deducted from the monies you receive.
How Much Will I Have To Pay To File My Case?
Right. And that is important, and I do want to reiterate that, you know, you do not have to come up with any money up front. You will never have to come up with any money. We get paid, meaning the attorney fees are paid, only if there is a financial recovery.
The other thing in Barb just kind of touched on on this is she talked about the potential range that you might look at, or that you might anticipate as far as compensation. One distinction that we have raised in the context of another mass tort is the difference between class actions and mass tort actions like we’re talking about right now, multi-district litigation.
In this litigation, in what we’re attempting to do is get compensation for those people who have been harmed, that is really relative to the extent of the injury.
Which is a little bit different than what you see in class action cases that many of you have probably come across where you might get a coupon in the mail because you happen to be one of thousands of people who have been somewhat harmed by a product or a situation that has arisen. So I want to make sure people understand we’re looking at real compensation here.
So I do want Kitka to chime in here and talk to us a little bit, Kitka, about what potential clients might anticipate, as far as reaching out to VanDerGinst Law. How they do that and what the vetting process is like, what what they should anticipate once they reach out to us with respect to working the file.
What Can I Expect When I Call?
OK, well, if you’ve used Roundup and you receive treatment for cancer, give us a call or go to our vlaw.com website. There’ll be a prescreening on the website to ask a few questions. And then one of our intake specialists will reach out to you or you can call us directly. Our intake specialists will ask you a series of questions regarding your case.
We will ask you to sign some paperwork. One would be a contract with us for us to represent you. Another would be for giving us permission to get your medical records. That’s part of our process of creating a case and proving up our claim before we go to file. That takes a little bit of time.
When we ask for your medical records, it takes us a little bit of time to get those records back in and have them reviewed. And like Barb said, we’re in a time crunch right now. So if you think at all you may have a case, please give us a call, because we need to jump on this one right away.
We’ll review it. We’ll have our medical experts review your medical records and we will present our most strongest case that we can, and file it into the MDL. Then we wait, and that’s that’s probably the hardest part is the waiting.
And we’ll be in touch with you. Keep in contact with you about once a month just to keep you apprised of where we’re at in the process.
Wrapping It Up
OK, thank you, Kitka. I want to give John and Bob a final opportunity to say anything to sum things up, if you like.
No, other than just to reiterate that because Bayer is having to answer to their stockholders who want them to make this matter go away, that anyone in your audience that believes they may have a case, this is one you really don’t have time to wait.
You need to make contact now, because once Bayer achieves a settlement, they come up with the right number, and a year and a half later, you want to file a case, the multi-district litigation that simplifies this process may no longer be available.
So if you’ve had Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and have had treatment and were exposed to Roundup, please call now.
Absolutely. Thank you so much, once again, to Kitka, and of course to to John and Barbara.
Those of you who have an interest in exploring things further or if you have any questions, please reach out to us at vlaw.com or give us a call at 800-960-vlaw.
Thank you once again for joining us.
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