Roundup class action

Maurice Blackburn is conducting a class action against Monsanto on behalf of all people who have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) by reason of using or being exposed to Roundup or Monsanto-branded herbicide products that contained glyphosate (Roundup Products) within Australia.

We allege that Monsanto was negligent in selling Roundup Products which they knew (or ought to have known) were carcinogenic and increased an individual’s risk of developing NHL. We also allege that the Roundup Products had a safety defect and were not of acceptable quality under consumer protection legislation.

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Case updates

The class action was launched on 8 April 2020. On 1 May 2020 the Federal Court determined that the class action run by Maurice Blackburn would be heard before any other class action about Roundup.

Key dates

Registration is open.

Am I eligible to register for the Roundup class action?

You are eligible to register in the Roundup class action if you:

  • Used or were exposed to Roundup Products within Australia between July 1976 and 19 October 2020
  • Have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

Alternatively, you are eligible to register if you are:

  • an executor/administrator, beneficiary or a person with an interest in the estate of a deceased person who met the above criteria before they passed away; or
  • a dependent of a person who currently meets or previously met the above criteria. 

How do I register for the Roundup class action?

On the registration portal, you can register your details and retain Maurice Blackburn to represent you in the class action.

As part of the online registration process, you will be asked to enter into a Retainer and Costs Agreement with Maurice Blackburn.

Want to find out more?

Please see below some frequently-asked questions about the case and links to key documents.

If you would like further information regarding the class action, please contact us at Roundup@mauriceblackburn.com.au or on 1800 519 743

Frequently Asked Questions

Maurice Blackburn is Australia’s leading class action law firm. We have achieved the nation’s largest class actions recoveries, collectively having recovered over $3 billion in compensation for victims of wrongdoing.

Signing up to the Roundup Class Action will not expose you to any out of pocket costs. All costs in the proceeding will be borne by Maurice Blackburn unless and until there is a successful outcome. In the event of a successful outcome, any costs payable by Maurice Blackburn will be deducted from, and will not exceed, any compensation that you are entitled to receive. All such costs are required to be considered and approved by the Court.

No funding commission will be payable to a third party litigation funder as there is no third party litigation funder involved in the Roundup Class Action.

In the event that the Federal Court of Australia has power to make a group costs order in relation to these proceedings, the Representative may at a future time apply to the Court for such an order. A group costs order is an order of the Court in which the legal costs payable to the law practice representing the Representative and the class are calculated as a percentage of the amount of any award or settlement and the liability is shared among the Representative and all group members. The percentage is determined by the Court.

Nothing.

As a member of the class (and not the Representative, in whose name the case has been brought), an adverse costs order may not be made directly against you in respect of the determination of the common issues in the class action. Unless and until there is a successful outcome, all costs will be borne by Maurice Blackburn.

Where seven or more people have claims that arise out of similar circumstances, a class action can be brought by one claimant on their own behalf and as a representative of others.

The class action process saves time and expense by avoiding the need for the courts to determine common issues of fact or law more than once. Class actions are efficient, enabling disputes and claims involving large numbers of people to be resolved via a single case.

The claim is against three current and former Monsanto entities. These are 1) the US-based Monsanto Company, 2) Monsanto Australia Pty Ltd and 3) Huntsman Chemical Company Australia Pty Ltd (before 1988, this entity was called Monsanto Australia Pty Ltd).

We allege that Roundup Products are carcinogenic and that using or being exposed to Roundup Products increases an individual’s risk of developing NHL. We also allege that Roundup Products as formulated are more toxic and carcinogenic than glyphosate alone, due to the presence of various surfactants and impurities in the formulated product.

We allege that Monsanto knew or ought to have known about this risk. On that basis, we say they were negligent and should compensate group members for their losses. We also make allegations under consumer protection legislation that the Roundup Products had a safety defect and were not of acceptable quality.

Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide first patented by Monsanto Company in 1970. By 1974, Monsanto was marketing glyphosate-based herbicides as Roundup.

Roundup Products were first registered for use in Australia in 1976.

Glyphosate has become the world’s most popular herbicide and is used extensively in Australia in agriculture, by local councils, and by home gardeners. It is the most widely used herbicide in Australia and globally. Its usage has exponentially increased in the last 20-30 years with the introduction of crops which are genetically-modified to be unharmed by glyphosate and the related introduction of more intensive usages of glyphosate. Glyphosate-resistant crops are, in fact, generally known as Roundup Ready® seeds.

Australia is a particularly heavy user of Roundup Products. We believe that on a per capita basis, Australian usage of glyphosate-containing herbicides is far higher than in the United States.

In March 2015, the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published an evaluation of several herbicides including glyphosate. The IARC found that glyphosate (and/or commercial formulations of glyphosate, of which Roundup is the most common) was a probable human carcinogen, and, in particular, that there was a positive association between glyphosate and NHL.

The IARC also found “sufficient evidence” that glyphosate (and/or commercial formulations containing glyphosate):

(i) caused genotoxicity (genetic damage) and oxidative stress in humans, both of which are mechanisms for the formation of cancers; and
(ii) caused cancer in animals.

Historically, Roundup has been marketed by Monsanto as not harmful to humans and other mammals. However, we allege a number of factors which indicate that Monsanto knew, or ought to have known, that Roundup was carcinogenic and about the risk that use of and/or exposure to Roundup increases a person’s risk of developing NHL. These include that:

  • the initial tests undertaken by Monsanto to support the registration of glyphosate were later found to have been invalid and unreliable,
  • information existed from at least 1981 which showed that Roundup Products/glyphosate were potentially carcinogenic, and
  • glyphosate had been identified by the US EPA in March 1985 to be possibly carcinogenic to humans.

Simply registering your interest to participate in the class action does not entitle you to any compensation.

In a class action the initial trial involves the Court hearing evidence about the lead applicant’s claim in order to determine the factual and legal questions which are common to the lead applicant and the rest of the group.

In this case those common questions include whether use and exposure to Roundup Products increases an individual’s risk of developing NHL and whether Monsanto was negligent in manufacturing and distributing Roundup Products. The Court will also decide the individual compensation claim of the lead applicant. 

If the class action is successful in respect of these common questions, the rest of the groups’ individual claims will then be considered. Several factors are likely to impact on whether or not an individual is entitled to compensation, including the findings of the Court in relation to the common questions, whether or not an individual’s NHL was by reason of their use of Roundup products and any loss or damage suffered as a result. 

At this early stage, we do not require further information about your individual claim beyond the information that is requested through the registration portal. We will notify you when further information may be required.

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