Roundup & AR 15s: How Cause Groups Use Courts To Win What They Otherwise Can’t

On March 19th, a federal jury in San Francisco ruled the weed killer Roundup caused a 70 year old man’s cancer.  This is the second trial against Monsanto (now part of Bayer) involving glyphosate.  The first, also tried in San Francisco, resulted in a $289 million judgement against the chemical maker.  The judge reduced that to $78 million.  

While it’s trendy to be against “big, industrial Ag corporations,” this trend can’t last.  Once word got out that suing Bayer was profitable, lawsuits came out of the woodwork.  There are over 11,000 suits now filed.  At $78 million each, Bayer will quickly go bankrupt.  Trial lawyers and cause groups will then focus their crosshairs on other companies that manufacture glyphosate.  

Eventually, no company will make glyphosate due to lawsuit exposure.  And that is the exact goal of cause groups who’ve been “Marching Against Monsanto” for years. Mind you, glyphosate — like AR-15 style rifles — is a legal product in the U.S.  The EPA approved glyphosate in the 1970s.  Cause groups can’t get the world’s most used herbicide banned. So, instead, they employ the same tactics used by anti -gun organizations.  

The tactics: 

  1. Create and distribute propaganda against that which you seek to destroy.  

  2. Appeal to human emotion.  

  3. Fight in states with courts and juries sympathetic to the cause, knowing you can take the argument nationally after a few victories.  

  4. Team up with trial lawyers who appeal to human greed to sue your opposition.

Let’s take a quick look at each tactic. 

Propaganda:  Most people believe the “AR” in AR-15 stands for “assault rifle.”  That’s well placed propaganda from anti-gun groups because “assault rifle” paints a really ugly image.  AR actually stands for ArmaLite, the company that developed the rifle style in the 1950s. 

Look at the "March Against Monsanto” for similar imagery. Modern Ag’s opponents talk about “Frankenfood from Industrial Agriculture drenched in pesticides.” See the tactic? 

Emotion: Juries aren’t swayed by facts. They’re swayed by emotion.  As are most people. The science of Roundup hasn’t mattered for years. 

Location: The battle for Agriculture is in California. The third Roundup suit begins Monday in Oakland. For firearms the battle is in Connecticut.  There, a state supreme court just ruled gun manufacturers can be sued for how they advertise their product, even if they’ve done everything legally otherwise.  Advertising is far from scientific, which bodes even better for trial lawyers.

Lawyers: Within days if not hours of the first jury’s ruling against Roundup, law firms were running commercials soliciting plaintiffs against Monsanto / Bayer.  Taking money from companies via the courtroom is their business model.  Chemical and firearm makers are the new Asbestos / Mesothelioma for trial lawyers.

The objective of groups opposed to firearms or Ag chemicals is elimination of both things. You can argue the societal need for chemistry in food production, using economics and science but people don’t do science or economics.  The gun makers know this, but for some reason Ag is slow on the uptake.  Watch as trials against farm chemicals and firearms advance.

Bayer’s legal corps will likely stick with science - even though that’s been a losing strategy so far. Conversely, I expect Remington Outdoor’s attorneys in Connecticut to reference the constitution, America, self defense, and freedom. 

Gun manufacturers will start losing in the courtroom too, but they won’t lose as badly as Ag chemical companies.  Because gun makers have been fighting cause groups attempting to bankrupt them for decades. They know it’s an emotional battle.  But for some reason Ag just keeps using science as it’s defense. And that’s like taking a knife to a gun fight.  

Damian Mason is an Agriculturist, which means he’s a farm boy with an Agricultural Economics degree who keeps up with Ag issues. For speeches or to subscribe to his podcast, 

Angie Carel