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Federal Judge Rules Wrongful Death Claims Against Monsanto as Time-Barred

Published on Aug 3, 2021 at 7:55 am in Product Liability.

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As Bayer announces wanting to keep Roundup on the market for the foreseeable future without adding a warning about the potential cancer risk, a judge in Georgia has ruled a wrongful death claim against Monsanto as time-barred.

This ruling, along with Monsanto’s settlement, could affect future cases. To understand why, let’s start by taking a look at the wrongful death claim, why it was denied, and what could happen next.

Roundup Weed Killer and the Wrongful Death Case of Michael Dollar

In June 2020, widow Janice Dollar sued Monsanto individually and as the personal representative of her husband’s estate. She blamed Monsanto for the death of her husband, Michael Dollar, in December 2012. Dollar claims her husband’s fatal cancer was linked to his exposure to Roundup, but she wasn’t aware of the link until 2019.

U.S. District Judge Lisa G. Wood dismissed some of the claims, citing the two-year statute of limitations for personal injury in relation to death ran out in December 2014 and is not affected by her delayed discovery.

According to Dollar, her husband died at age 58 after being diagnosed with cancer in 2009. He was allegedly exposed to Roundup weed killer since 2001 while working for a Georgia nursery. He also used Roundup at home.

Dollar also noted that she was diagnosed with a pre-cancer condition in 2016 and is expected to develop the same type of cancer that killed her husband. She used the weedkiller without protection in her horticultural work since 2000.

In a statement from Wood regarding her ruling, she said, “Under Georgia law, plaintiff’s wrongful death claim is untimely and must be dismissed. Plaintiff’s request that this court declare otherwise is inconsistent with its obligation to decide this case as would a Georgia Court. […] If plaintiff can provide what she alleges is true – that she could not have known prior to 2019 that Mr. Dollar’s injuries were caused by defendant – then the discovery rule would apply. Plaintiff’s amended complaint sufficiently alleges a delay in discovery to toll the statute of limitations and make her survivor claims timely.”

Wood, however, is allowing Dollar’s claims under a survival theory, for loss of consortium, to move forward.

Georgia’s Statute of Limitations

In Georgia, personal injury claims are subject to a two-year statute of limitations. This means if a person fails to take legal action within those two years, their claim can, and most likely will, be dismissed.

In certain instances, however, the discovery rule can be applied. For example, if a plaintiff can prove that they were unaware of the reason behind an injury or death until certain information was revealed to them, the statute of limitations can be extended.

In Dollar’s case, she can pursue compensation for loss of consortium because that is not barred by the same statute of limitations and wrongful death claims.

What the Ruling Means for Future Wrongful Death Victims

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and were regularly exposed to Roundup weed killer, it’s important to get in touch with an attorney to learn about what you may be entitled to in terms of compensation.

If you’ve lost a loved one from cancer-related to a Monsanto product, it’s imperative you find a law firm to work with as soon as possible. Once your loved one has passed and the statute of limitations starts ticking, you want to know your options and have time to pursue legal action—if that’s what you choose to do.

If you choose to move forward with a wrongful death claim, you’ll need to prepare yourself for a battle. In a statement from Monsanto, a spokesperson said, “The company will confidently defend the remaining claims as the extensive body of science on Roundup does not support its associate with the injuries alleged in this case.”

If Monsanto’s most recent settlement is approved, victims who are diagnosed with cancer just a day after the settlement is certified would have to accept a four-year stay of proceedings, a cap on compensatory damages, forgoing punitive damages, and giving a science panel authority to determine if Roundup causes cancer.

Learn More From Thomas Law Offices

If you think you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer-related to Roundup weed killer, you may have ground to pursue legal action. However, as you can see, the statute of limitations can greatly affect your ability to file a claim and recover compensation.

The sooner you get in touch with an attorney from Thomas Law Offices, the more likely it will be that we can help you hold Monsanto accountable for your illness. Contact us today to learn more.

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Tad Thomas

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Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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