Maurice Blackburn is conducting a class action against Monsanto on behalf of all people who have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) due to using or being exposed to Roundup or Monsanto-branded herbicide products that contained glyphosate (Roundup Products) within Australia.
The evidence in the initial trial of the Roundup Class Action ran in the Federal Court from September 2023 to October 2023. We are currently finalising our closing written submissions, and there will be a hearing of oral closing submissions at the end of January 2024.
Please note that the initial trial is only about whether Roundup Products can cause cancer or NHL generally, not whether it caused the NHL of specific individuals or whether Monsanto acted negligently or otherwise broke the law. If we are successful at the initial trial, these matters will be the subject of a further trial.
Am I eligible to join the 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 4 July 2022; and
- have been diagnosed with 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.
There is currently no deadline for individuals to register for the class action. However, we recommend that individuals register as soon as practicable so that they can receive updates as the proceedings develop.
How much does it cost to become part of the class action?
Nothing. The action is being run on a no-win, no-fee basis.
Registering for 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.
About this class action
This class action was commenced by Kelvin McNickle in the Federal Court of Australia against Monsanto Company and Monsanto Australia (and two predecessor companies).
The class action, known as the Roundup Class Action, seeks compensation for people who have been diagnosed with NHL because they used or were exposed to Roundup within Australia at any time between July 1976 and 4 July 2022 (Group Members).
The claim involves allegations that glyphosate, glyphosate-based formulations and Roundup Products were carcinogenic. Because of this, it is alleged that:
- Under consumer legislation, Roundup Products:
a) had a safety defect, and
b) were not of merchantable and/or acceptable quality.
- 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.
- Monsanto’s conduct in its efforts to distort the science around glyphosate and Roundup Products was deceitful.
In addition to compensatory damages, it is alleged that Monsanto’s conduct as described above was such that the Court should award Mr McNickle and group members exemplary or punitive damages.
Monsanto does not admit the allegations and is defending the class action.
The evidence in the initial trial ran from September 2023 to October 2023, and there will be a hearing of oral closing submissions at the end of January 2024.
Resources and FAQs
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 genetically-modified crops that are unharmed by glyphosate and the related introduction of more intensive usages of glyphosate. Glyphosate-resistant crops are 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 many factors that 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.
Mr McNickle alleges that Monsanto showed conscious and contumelious disregard for the rights of Mr McNickle and the Group Members, deserving of an award of exemplary damages. Further, Mr McNickle alleges that Monsanto has so aggravated Mr McNickle and the Group Members’ suffering to warrant an award of aggravated damages.
Mr McNickle alleges that:
- From at least 1981 onwards, Monsanto knew, or was at least reckless, as to the risk that glyphosate and/or the Roundup Products were carcinogenic;
- Monsanto made decisions not to test, or adequately test, glyphosate and Roundup Products, to avoid findings or possible findings which may have supported the conclusion that Roundup Products and/or glyphosate are carcinogenic or potentially carcinogenic;
- Monsanto knew that the dermal absorption of the Roundup Products, which include surfactants, was higher than the dermal absorption of glyphosate alone;
- Monsanto engaged in conduct that sought to, and did, undermine and invalidate scientific research and reviews containing conclusions that Roundup Products and/or glyphosate are carcinogenic or potentially carcinogenic;
- Monsanto withheld information and studies, including from regulatory authorities, which supported the conclusion that Roundup Products and/or glyphosate are carcinogenic or potentially carcinogenic;
- Monsanto did not adequately disclose that it had initiated, authored or contributed to, scientific research or reviews of scientific studies and engaged in communications with scientific journals and government agencies that disputed that Roundup Products and/or glyphosate are carcinogenic or potentially carcinogenic and/or that the use of and/or exposure to Roundup Products and/or glyphosate increased an individual’s risk of developing NHL.
Mr McNickle alleges that, because of the factors above, Monsanto prevented proper investigation of the carcinogenic properties of glyphosate and/or the Roundup Products, and information about the carcinogenic properties of glyphosate and/or the Roundup Products becoming available to regulatory authorities and consumers. Further, Mr McNickle alleges that Monsanto engaged in this conduct to ensure the ongoing and unrestricted regulatory approval of glyphosate and glyphosate-based products, to avoid reputational damage, and to continue to profit from the sale of those products.
Simply registering your interest to participate in the class action does not entitle you to any compensation.
In this class action, the initial trial, which ran in 2023, involved the Court hearing evidence about whether glyphosate and Roundup Products are carcinogenic and whether use of and/or exposure to these substances increases an individual’s risk of developing NHL.
The initial trial is only about whether Roundup Products can cause cancer in general, not whether it caused your cancer or anyone else’s cancer, how much money you or anyone else may get, or whether Monsanto acted negligently or otherwise broke the law. If we are successful at the initial trial, these matters will be the subject of a further trial.
Several factors are likely to impact whether or not an individual is entitled to compensation, including the findings of the Court concerning the common questions, whether or not an individual’s NHL was because 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 claim beyond the information requested through the registration portal. We will notify you when further information may be required.
In the News
Australian leaders in class actions.
Our reputation for excellence in class actions is unparalleled, having recovered more than $4.2 billion for clients.
We are the only Australian class actions firm to deliver $100m+ settlements to clients in shareholder and listed securities actions, which we have done on ten occasions.
Lower cost to clients
We’re here to help. Get in touch with your local office.
Select your state below
We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Australian Capital Territory. If you need a lawyer in Canberra or elsewhere in Australian Capital Territory, please call us on 1800 675 346.
We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Tasmania. If you need a lawyer in Hobart, Launceston or elsewhere in Tasmania, please call us on 1800 675 346.