It’s been an eventful week in federal court in San Francisco as expert witnesses face off on the science surrounding glyphosate, the key active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller.
Live reporting from Carey Gillam of U.S. Right to Know sheds light on some of the latest developments unfolding in the courtroom, including testimony from toxicology expert, former government scientist and plaintiffs’ expert witness, Dr. Charles William Jameson, Ph.D.
“To a reasonable degree of scientific certainly,” it’s clear that glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides likely cause cancer in humans, particularly non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), at real-world exposures including the levels farmworkers and others face when using the weedkiller, said Jameson in court on March 7.
In Roundup science hearing scientist says "to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty" is clear that glyphosate & glyphosate based herbicides are probably human carcinogens & cause NHL; adds causing cancer at current exposures. Monsanto objects to the latter, judge overrules— carey gillam (@careygillam) March 7, 2018
Jameson reiterated that there’s credible evidence that glyphosate causes cancer, adding that oxidative stress caused by glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides is a known link to NHL.
In @MonsantoCo litigation hearing, plaintiffs’ expert Bill Jameson testifies that science showing glyphosate, glyphosate-based herbicides, cause oxidative stress is important as that is known link to non-Hodgkin lymphoma.— carey gillam (@careygillam) March 7, 2018
Jameson’s testimony sparked early objections from Monsanto attorneys; however, Judge Chhabria twice overruled those objections, reports Gillam.
Twice now Judge shuts down attorneys for @MonsantoCo who object twice to opening testimony from plaintiffs' toxicology expert Bill Jameson who says credible evidence that glyphosate causes cancer— carey gillam (@careygillam) March 7, 2018
Monsanto proceeded by sending in its “big dog” attorney Joe Hollingsworth to cross examine Jameson, who was part of the team of scientists analyzing research on glyphosate under the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which ultimately determined the weedkiller to be a probable human carcinogen.
“Hollingsworth launched his cross by pressing Jameson about distinctions between hazard and risk assessments, and comments Jameson made in a deposition.
“The judge admonished Hollingsworth and suggested that rather than continuously asking Jameson about what he said in a deposition, the attorney should ask him about what he actually thinks.
“‘Why don't you ask [his] about his opinion now,’ the judge told Hollingsworth. ‘That's normally how we do it,’ the judge said.”
After lunch break for cancer science hearing @MonsantoCo unleashes the big dog; attorney Joe Hollingsworth takes on the cross examination of plaintiffs' expert witness Bill Jameson. Judge admonishes Hollingsworth for not providing Jameson dox he is questioning him about.— carey gillam (@careygillam) March 7, 2018
Hollingsworth continued to press Jameson about comments he made in a deposition, prompting Jameson to state that he was misquoted and that his words were repeatedly taken out of context.
When Monsanto’s attorney pressed on, Judge Chhabria interrupted, ordering Hollingsworth to provide the full transcript of the deposition, including the page number containing Jameson’s comment.
Hollingsworth was ultimately ordered “to read aloud two pages of deposition testimony supporting the expertise of plaintiffs’ expert Jameson,” reports Gillam.
Wow ! Judge – in stern tone - forces @MonsantoCo attorney Hollingsworth to read aloud two pages of deposition testimony supporting the expertise of plaintiffs’ expert Jameson before judge will allow Hollingsworth to present deposition testimony aimed at impeaching Jameson.— carey gillam (@careygillam) March 7, 2018
The judge seemingly grew irritated with Hollingsworth’s style of questioning, Gillam observed, adding that “Judge Vince Chhabria repeatedly admonished Monsanto lead attorney Joe Hollingsworth over his tactics in cross examining Jameson.”
Hard to tell for sure but Judge in Roundup cancer science hearing really doesn’t seem fond of @MonsantoCo attorney Joe Hollingsworth. Has chastised his questioning style of scientist Jameson multiple times now.— carey gillam (@careygillam) March 7, 2018
After Hollingsworth ended his cross examination of Jameson, Jameson turned to the judge and said: “Thank you for the honor, your honor.”
Two more days of court testimony remain. While it’s unclear when Judge Chhabria will rule, our sources say that there will be an oral argument a week or so after the hearing and then Judge Chhabria will take things under submission and likely write up an order sometime over the next three to four weeks.
There are more than 365 lawsuits pending against Monsanto in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. These lawsuits have been filed by people alleging that exposure to Roundup herbicide caused them or their loved ones to develop NHL, and that Monsanto knew the risks.