Then help stop them and the other large multinationals (Bayer, DuPont, etc.) from establishing their farming practices and seed control in Mexico, the country of origin for corn.
The Crowd vs. GM Mais in Mexico
Stop Monsanto en andere multinationals die genetisch gemodificeerd (GM) maïs willen verbouwen in Mexico, waardoor boeren geleidelijk worden gedwongen om ook GM maïs te telen, de biodiversiteit aangetast wordt en Mexicanen hun cultureel erfgoed en levensstijl dreigen te verliezen. Lees meer …
A California jury awarded $2 billion on Monday to an elderly couple that developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after years of using Monsanto’s popular weed killer Roundup, delivering a major blow to the agrochemical giant.
The jury found the company failed to warn consumers that Roundup could cause cancer, attorneys said, dealing the company its third major loss in court in a series of lawsuits claiming the herbicide was behind the development of cancer.
“Two billion dollars in punitive damages is as clear a statement as you can get that they [Monsanto] have to change what they’re doing,” Brent Wisner, who represented Alva and Alberta Pilliod, said in at a press conference. “Monsanto needs to change its conduct.”
A spokesperson for Bayer, the parent company for Monsanto, told BuzzFeed News the company believed the $2 billion punitive judgment was “excessive and unjustifiable” and it planned to appeal the decision.
“Bayer is disappointed with the jury’s decision and will appeal the verdict in this case,” the company said.
“We have a great sympathy for Mr. and Mrs. Pilliod, but evidence in this case was clear that both have long histories of illnesses known to be substantial risk factors for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL),” it said.
In response, Bayer pointed to a recent statement from US Environmental Protection Agency released April 30, which found that glyphosate posed “no risk to public health.”
“EPA has found no risks to public health from the current registered uses of glyphosate,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.
The chemical is the most commonly used herbicide in the US, according to the agency, and it’s used on more than 100 food crops.
“If we are going to feed 10 billion people by 2050, we are going to need all the tools at our disposal, which includes the use the [sic] glyphosate,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue said in April.
The EPA’s findings would contradict a 2015 report from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, which found glyphosate was probably carcinogenic to humans.
As multiple cases make their way to court, documents released in legal proceedings have also raised questions regarding the research of glyphosate. Internal emails and suggest Monsanto had ghostwritten research involving the chemical and that an EPA official had possibly moved to influence reviews by the government agency.
Meanwhile, environmental groups applauded the jury’s decision Monday.
The Pilliods bought their first home in 1982, attorneys said, and later bought four more properties. From then on, the couple used Roundup about once a week for about nine months a year until they were diagnosed with cancer. Attorneys said the couple sprayed their properties with the weed killler regularly thinking it was safe.
“Nobody ever told them it was dangerous,” Michael Miller, another attorney who represented the couple, said. “They saw ads on TV. They thought they could trust the company. They were wrong.”
Alberta Pilliod continues to need about $20,000 a month in medication, including chemotherapy, to fight a brain tumor that has been detected twice, her attorney said.
“We wish that Monsanto had warned us ahead of time of the dangers of using Monsanto and that there was something in the front of their label that said ‘Danger, may cause cancer,'” Alberta Pilliod said at the press conference. “It’s changed our lives forever. We can’t do the things that we used to be able to do, and we really resent Monsanto for that fact.”
Monday’s decision is the latest and most devastating blow to the company, which is facing thousands of similar cases.
In August, a San Francisco jury handed an unanimous decision to award $290 million to Dewayne Johnson, who claimed the active ingredient in Roundup — glyphosate — caused him to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphona.
Monsanto said it planned to appeal that decision, with its vice president declaring “the jury got it wrong.”
In March, a federal jury again found that the herbicide played a significant role in causing Edwin Hardeman, 70, to develop cancer.
In the most recent case, Alva and Alberta Pilliod, of Livermore, California, claimed that after using Roundup for more than 30 years to landscape their home and other properties, they were both diagnosed with the same type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Alva was diagnosed in 2011, while Alberta Pilliod was diagnosed in 2015.
On Monday, a jury handed down a $2.055 billion decision in favor of the Pilliods, including $1 billion each in punitive damages against Monsanto.
Brent Wisner, one of the attorneys who represented the Pilliods, said this most recent case not only sent a message to Monsanto, but to the EPA, which he accused of helping hide the effects of glyphosate.
“For 45 years the EPA has been saying it doesn’t cause cancer,” Wisner said. “They’d have to come to grips that they have blood in their hands.”
By Andrea Carta, Greenpeace EU Senior Legal Strategist
My collaboration with “The Crowd Versus” began in September 2016. At that time, I was providing EU law expertise to Greenpeace International, who had intervened in a case that Bayer and Syngenta had started against the EU Commission: the two agrochemical companies were trying to annul a regulation that prohibited the use of three active substances for pesticides (neonicotinoids), which the Commission found to be harmful for bees.
The Crowd Versus made their platform available for a fundraising campaign, to help us pay the costs of the court intervention and to provide communication opportunities around the case.
Getting the fundraising campaign started was a relatively easy process. The Crowd Versus uses a simple and transparent standard agreement and it provides the parties with all the basic information to develop the crowdfunding page. At the design stage, requests for input on Greenpeace’s side were minimal, and limited to a short description of the legal case and to some pictures.
The Crowd Versus produced a dedicated webpage and a video. It also took care of the launch of the crowdfunding via social media like Facebook and Twitter. Communication was regular and all the adjustments that proved necessary (text, timeline and target) were made practically in real time.
On 29 September 2016 we were online and the campaign ended on 15 February 2017 with € 1.680 and 85 individual donors, most of which from the Netherlands, where The Crowd Versus is based.
Considering that we were practically running a pilot, and that The Crowd Versus was mainly counting on its own audience, I think the result of this short campaign was encouraging, even if it did not reach the target that we had initially set.
What could have we done differently to achieve the target?
Based on my experience with the bees’ case, I think that, beyond a thorough preparation, communication is the factor that can determine the success of a crowdfunding campaign. Here are my two advices:
Communicate frequently and widely around the case
This should be easier for grassroots organisations, whose main focus is on one legal cases (or a small number of them), than for large organisations like Greenpeace, who have many campaigns and initiatives running at the same time.
Find a way to make (administrative) law appealing
Administrative law is already boring for law students. Don’t expect it to be entertaining for the public unless you put some serious work on it!
Beyond a doubt, our case was important from both the legal and the environmental perspective. However, mobilising supporters was very difficult, given that cases before the EU Court of Justice are very slow, very technical and very quiet.
With a well-designed and planned communication strategy, a crowdfunding campaign can bring, in addition to the monies that are necessary to run a legal case, a valuable opportunity to mobilise around it and turn a lawsuit into a real campaign.
Andrea Carta works as Senior Legal Strategist for the European Unit of Greenpeace, where he advices on a broad range of EU environmental law issues, including pesticides, GMOs, energy, access to justice, illegal timber imports and trade policy.
¡Hemos recopilado €15,267.33 del €17,500.00 que queremos recopilar para este caso!
The Crowd vs. Maíz MG Mexicano
Detener a Monsanto y otras multinacionales de producir maíz genéticamente modificado (MG) que fuerce a que todos los agricultores produzcan maíz MG, ya que dañará la biodiversidad, y en última instancia, pondrá en peligro el patrimonio cultural y estilo de vida de México. Lee mas …
The Crowd reclama
Detener a Monsanto y otras multinacionales de producir maíz genéticamente modificado (MG) que fuerce a que todos los agricultores produzcan maíz MG, ya que dañará la biodiversidad, y en última instancia, pondrá en peligro el patrimonio cultural y estilo de vida de México.
Únase a nosotros para apoyar este caso
El maíz MG ya ha sido detectado en el teocinte nativo. El teocinte es el precursor del maíz y solamente puede encontrarse en México, el país original de dicha comida. La presencia de maíz MG representará un peligro muy real, y dañará la biodiversidad. Por lo tanto, los permisos de MG no deberían ser permitidos en ningún tipo de cultivo de maíz.
A pesar de las docenas de desafíos legales llevados a cabo por las multinacionales de MG*, el mandamiento temporal aprobado en septiembre de 2013 que detenía los permisos de cultivos de maíz MG en todo el país fue confirmado por todos y cada uno de los tribunales que recibieron una apelación. Dicho mandamiento fue aplicado incluso antes de que los defendidos fuesen notificados en los tribunales. Después de notificar a los defendidos, el 7 de marzo de 2016, un tribunal federal de apelaciones falló afirmando que el mandamiento temporal debería seguir siendo aplicado hasta tomar una decisión final después de analizar el caso a fondo. Esto seguirá en efecto a no ser que el tribunal del circuito federal o el Tribunal Supremo digan lo contrario. El mandamiento detiene los cultivos MG de maíz comerciales y pre-comerciales en todo el país. Aunque dicha decisión también definió que los cultivos de maíz MG podrían ser autorizados con propósitos experimentales y de investigación científica, las agencias de Agricultura y Medioambiente de México han comunicado al tribunal federal que no se ofrecerán permisos de cultivo de maíz MG experimental o de investigación científica hasta que no exista una decisión final y firme en los tribunales de México.
* Monsanto, Syngenta, SAGARPA, SEMARNAT, PHI (Pioneer-DuPont) and Dow.
Próxima acción legal
Después de 36 meses de litigio, los demandantes apoyados por The Crowd Versus han sido certificados y el periodo probatorio ha comenzado. En este periodo cada una de las partes muestra sus pruebas. La audiencia en la corte debe completarse.
Antecedentes del Caso y la Organización sin ánimo de lucro
El maíz siempre ha sido una parte del día a día de todos los mexicanos. El maíz no solamente es la base alimenticia de México, sino que también tiene un gran valor cultural. Durante más de 8.000 años, los mexicanos han cultivado más de mil tipos diferentes de maíz nativos de este país. Si el maíz MG es autorizado, la diversidad del maíz mexicano estará en peligro debido al riesgo de contaminación. Los agricultores se arriesgan a que gradualmente se vean forzados a cultivar maíz MG o a que se contamine su maíz nacional. Los mexicanos corren el riesgo de perder su herencia cultural y estilo de vida. The crowd apunta que al final su comida diaria se verá patentada, y que compañías como Monsanto se harán con el monopolio de las comidas y pesticidas. The crowd también apunta que la única opción sería el maíz MG. El maíz MG también dañaría toda nuestra biodiversidad. Las grandes compañías de MG ya han gastado millones estimados en 102 casos legales y están peleando con uñas y dientes para hacer que México produzca su maíz genéticamente modificado a nivel comercial. La coalición de usuarios y consumidores de la biodiversidad del maíz en México está representada por Alternativas y Procesos de Participación Social A.C. (Alternativas), una organización sin ánimo de lucro basada en Tehuacán, Puebla, México.