GM Air Bag recall may add 4.3 million

A GM air bag recallGM LOGO may add 4.3 million more vehicles. General Motors Co. announced July 21, 2016 that U.S. regulators may force it to recall 4.3 million more vehicles for possibly defective Takata air bag systems. Reuters reported such a call-back would cost GM some $550 million.

Related: Air Bag Lawsuit Lawyer

GM announced a recall in May 2016 of 1.9 million vehicles for Takata Corp. air bag inflators. The Takata inflators can explode in a crash, sending shrapnel into occupants. Thirteen (13) people have reportedly been killed so far in flying shrapnel incidents resulting from exploding Takata airbags. In June 2016, GM expanded the May recall to include another 600,000 vehicles.

GM does not believe a safety defect affects any of the 6.8 million vehicles, but agreed to the initial recall after meeting with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The NHTSA in May 2016 said it will require 17 automakers to recall another 35-40 million U.S. autos with Takata air bag inflators. Fourteen automakers had previously recalled 24 million vehicles with 28.8 million inflators. The recalled inflators are linked to at least 13 deaths and more than 100 injuries.

GM says No Unreasonable Risk

GM said it believes that “the results of further testing and analysis will demonstrate that the vehicles do not present an unreasonable risk to safety and that no repair will ultimately be required.”

GM Air Bag recall may add 4.3 million

GM has not yet begun performing repairs on its initial 2.5 million recalled vehicles. It has claimed its Takata inflators consist of a unique design which poses no safety risk. GM said its data showed no Takata airbag ruptured in 44,000 deployments in large GM pickups and SUVs.

Takata inflators installed in GM trucks and big SUVs are designed, says GM, with different venting for hot gases released upon airbag deployment. GM has said they are installed in a manner which minimizes moisture exposure. That GM opinion is at odds with the position of U.S. auto regulators, who believe all frontal Takata airbag inflators sans drying agent must be recalled.

NHTSA: Air Bags unsafe over time

NHTSA spokesman Bryan Thomas on July 21said: “The science clearly shows that these inflators become unsafe over time, faster when exposed to humidity and variations of temperature.”

NHTSA also posted guidance on how automakers can petition for permission to alter the recall schedule, but NHTSA cautioned that its guidance should not be used to eliminate some vehicles from the recall.

More than 100 million vehicles worldwide with Takata airbag inflators have been declared defective.



GM recalls nearly 300,000 cars for Air Bags

General Motors is GM LOGOagain recalling more cars for safety defects. The Associated Press reported July 21, 2016 that GM is recalling nearly 300,000 Chevrolet Impala sedans in the U.S. for potentially defective air bags. The danger is that the air bags may not engage and inflate properly in a crash.

Chevrolet Impalas 2009-10 recalled

GM cars in this latest safety recall include Impalas from model years 2009 and 2010, manufactured prior to Feb. 10, 2010.

In government documents, GM says the front passenger seat frame can damage wiring by rubbing against a nearby passenger detection sensor. Damaged wiring could then cut power to the sensor and knock out the air bags.

Air bag warning lights will light up if the wires are chafed, though some warning gauges may fail to work.

GM Dealers said they will add anti-abrasion tape to address the problem. No schedule has yet been established for a time frame to make the necessary repairs.

Chevrolet Malibus recalled for Air Bags

In March 2016, General Motors recalled more than 3,200 of its 2016 Chevrolet Malibus in the U.S. and Canada to replace assemblies for side-impact air bags. (KHOU: Malibu Air Bag Recall)

In that recall, two weld studs that secure front- and rear-side-impact air bag assemblies could fracture and separate during air bag deployment. As a result, the inflated cushion could move from its intended position, separate from the seat, and increase the risk of injury.

The 2016 Malibu had only been on the market a few months. The recall covers 3,137 Malibus in the U.S. and 105 in Canada.

No owners had reported crashes or injuries related to the issue, according to KHOU in March.

Dealers will replace the recalled side-impact airbag assemblies.

GM recalls nearly 300,000 cars for Air Bags

The recalled air bags were made by Takata, but the Malibu recall is not part of the large Takata recall for front driver and passenger air bag inflators. These side-impact air bag assemblies use an inflator from ARC Automotive. The condition in this recall concerns the integrity of the studs holding the assembly to the seat frame. The performance or safety of the inflator are not at issue in this Malibu recall.



Truck company in Texas bridge crash had prior violations

The trucker who hit this hit bridgeslammed into a Texas bridge over Highway 36 on July 7, 2016 works for a company with a history of violations with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Texas Disposal Systems owns the truck that crashed into a bridge that day, killing one girl and seriously injuring her mother. Twelve-year-old Brein Bullock was killed, while her mother, Leah Bullock, 35, was badly injured. The TDS truck crashed into an Old Highway 90 bridge extending over Highway 36. Pieces of the bridge then fell on top the car. The TDS truck was being driven by 72-year-old Carl Weige.

Truck company in Texas bridge crash had prior violations

Houston’s Channel 2 reported last week that in past inspections, the Department of Transportation issued citations for TDS drivers not wearing seat belts, speeding, talking on a cell phone (which is illegal for truckers), among violations dating back to 2014.

TDS trucks – based in Buda, Texas – have been involved in 15 accidents since mid-2014. The most recent was in May 2016 in Austin, Texas, which injured three people. Police ticketed that TDS truck driver.

In July 2015, a 39-year-old woman walking on an Austin street was killed by a TDS garbage truck, one of 160 in the TDS fleet. That TDS driver was not charged.

Sealy Police Chief Chris Noble said witnesses told police officers that the truck brushed the warning system meant to alert trucks of the bridge’s height, yet the truck continued.

Truck company in Texas bridge crash had prior violations

The now-damaged bridge passed inspection in April of 2015, according to Channel 2. It has been designated as functionally obsolete, but only for its lane size. “[T]the lanes weren’t wide enough for the traffic,” explained TxDOT Spokeswoman, Veronica Beyer, who also told Channel 2 the bridge “was not deficient.”

Infrastructure Problems

Though the bridge’s width and condition do not appear to be a factor in the crash, Texas Bridges are part of America’s crumbling infrastructure, which receives a  D+ grade from  The volume of traffic on Houston and other Texas highways is likely a contributing factor to this and most other truck accidents. Truckers are often on tight schedules (though who isn’t, these days?), and they often drive with too-little sleep, endangering everyone on the road.


Infrastructure Report Card

According to, 42% of America’s major urban highways remain congested. That’s more than four million miles of public roadways carrying nearly three trillion vehicle miles in 2011 alone.*  This congestion costs the economy an estimated $101 billion in wasted time and fuel annually. While the conditions have improved in the short run, and Federal, state, and local capital investments increased to $91 billion annually, that investment level is insufficient, and projected to result in conditions and performance decline in the long haul. The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) estimates $170 billion in capital investment is needed yearly to significantly improve conditions and performance.

While two unloved Presidential candidates spar for position in one of the most contentious and hateful elections in decades, one question we should all be asking them is how they intend to address our glaring infrastructure problem. This latest Texas bridge accident may not have occurred due to crumbling infrastructure, but the picture is clear that something needs to be done, and soon, to help keep us all safe on the nation’s roads. Eleven million trucks now travel our roads.  We need to refurbish our infrastructure now to keep those truckers and ourselves safe.


American Roads Costly NOT to fix

Today, 32% of America’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition,* costing U.S. drivers traveling on poor pavement $67 billion a year, or $324 per motorist, in additional repairs and operating costs.

Deficiencies in America’s surface transportation systems in 2010 were estimated to cost households and businesses nearly $130 billion.


Bad Roadways linked with Traffic Deaths

Statistics indicate roadway conditions are a significant factor in approximately one-third of all U.S. traffic deaths. Crashes cost the U.S. economy $230 billion each year. notes that, “Reducing exposure to obstructions, adding or improving median barrier systems, and widening lanes and shoulders offer opportunities to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities.”

Infrastructure is an issue worth raising in this Presidential election of 2016. U.S. citizens can also raise the issue with their representatives. Fixing some infrastructure problems just might save your life, or the life of someone you know and love.



Truck Crash kills Girl in Sealy

A girl was killed in hit this hit bridgeSealy, Texas and her mother was injured July 7, 2016 after a truck crashed into an Old Highway 90 bridge. Sealy police said the crash caused debris to fall on top of their car on Highway 36.

A Texas Disposal Services truck with its boom raised was moving down Highway 36, passing under an Old Highway 90 bridge about 10 a.m. The trucker missed or ignored the bridge warning buoys hanging from the yellow warning sign, and/or failed to notice his boom was raised, and smashed into the overpass. Pieces of bridge from the crash fell onto Highway 36. A very unfortunate mother was at the same time motoring north with her two kids, one in front and the other in back.

The child in front was killed, investigators said, when falling bridge debris crushed the front of the car. Twelve-year-old Brein Bullock was sitting in the front seat.

Thirty-five-year-old mother Leah Bullock was med-flighted in critical condition to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Katy, said Sealy City Manager Larry Kuciemba.

Police said the 9-year-old child in back, Breanbon Gardner, escaped from the car, apparently unhurt, and was released to family members from the Eagle Lake area, where the family lives.


Truck ignored Bridge Warning System

Sealy Police Chief Chris Noble told Click2Houston that a warning system in place alerts trucks of the bridge’s height.  (see photo)

Chief Noble explained: “There is a wire that is suspended across the street with metal tubes or cylinders that hang down. There’s a huge sign that says if you hit this, you are going to hit the bridge.”

The chief also said witnesses driving behind the truck saw it hit the cylinders and just keep going. They filmed the incident with a GoPro camera, but police said they are not releasing the video.

Sky2Houston showed the roof of Ms. Bullock’s vehicle completely removed, possibly by city, county, or state authorities.

Highway 36 lanes in both directions were all shut down as emergency crews arrived to work in the area.

Chief Noble said police are treating the case as a homicide investigation, “because of the nature of the circumstances… that part of the truck was suspended when it should’ve been down.”

The truck driver, 72-year-old Carl Weige, was taken to hospital, his condition unknown.

Truck Crash kills Girl in Sealy

Sealy Mayor Mark Stolarski said the bridge had been hit once before, perhaps a year and a half ago. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) said the bridge was replaced after that crash, and was last inspected April 2015.  TxDOT is investigating.

TxDOT’s Veronica Beyer said the bridge was scheduled to find a contractor in September in order to be elevated. Chief Noble said Highway 36 was going to be elevated to avoid street flooding, and therefore the bridge was also going to be elevated.

Texas Disposal Systems released a statement to KPRC 2 that read, “We regret a TDS truck was involved in an incident impacting an overpass in Sealy, TX. We have been told there was a fatality and are saddened by the loss resulting from this incident. Our deepest sympathies go to the family-members and friends. An investigation is currently underway by local authorities. TDS is cooperating fully and will also be conducting its own investigation. (We) will be in communication with the community and public as relevant information becomes available.”

Austin County Sheriff’s Office was also on the scene to help the investigation and rescue.

A GoFundMe account was set up for the family.




Takata settles Air Bag Lawsuit

On Friday, July 15, 2016, Air Bag RecallTakata settled an airbag lawsuit. It was filed by a woman who has since died. She claimed the air bag in her Honda Civic functioned improperly while she was driving the car. Takata settled the case shortly before the Florida state judge assigned it could have ordered Takada’s CEO to testify.

Related: Air Bag Lawsuit Lawyer

Law 360 reported that the attorney representing the family of Patricia Mincey said the case reached settlement as the parties were preparing for trial next month. Details of the deal were not released.

The airbag lawsuit accused Takata and American Honda Motor Co. Inc. of hiding the airbag defect in Takata inflators. Ms. Mincey was made quadriplegic from a 2014 car accident in which a Takata airbag malfunctioned, according to her petition. She died from her injuries in April 2016.

Takata CEO avoids Deposition

Takata CEO Shigehisa Takada, a grandson of the Takata’s founder, could have been deposed in the lawsuit if it had continued.

The attorney noted that the Takata airbag lawsuit settlement did not include Honda.

Takata air bag inflators have been linked to as many as 14 deaths worldwide. The faulty airbags prompted the biggest recall in U.S. history in spring 2016.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) added 40 million additional airbags.

Multidistrict litigation over the air bag inflators has been set up in Florida. Takata admitted in November 2015 that it failed to report the defective air bags, despite its knowledge that they were prone to rupture and explode.

Takata settles Air Bag Lawsuit

Ms. Mincey’s petition alleged that the driver’s-side air bag in her 2001 Honda Civic failed to properly deploy during what she described as a “minor collision” in Jacksonville, Florida.

Then her air bag deployed too late, she charged in her complaint, and the inflator exploded because of “excessive pressurization.” The accident and explosion injured her spinal cord and led to her becoming quadriplegic, said her petition.

Ms. Mincey had filed her lawsuit in January 2016 against Duval Motors and Honda, Takata, and their subsidiaries. She said she was injured in a June 2014 car accident because her driver’s-side air bag in a 2001 Honda Civic didn’t deploy properly, and that the resulting injuries to her spine left her quadriplegic. Four days later, said her court filings, Honda recalled the air bag in her car.

Ms. Mincey had brought claims against Honda and Takata for negligence, strict liability, fraudulent concealment. Her lawsuit was remanded from federal court back to state court earlier in 2016. Honda had first succeeded in remanding the suit to federal court in July 2016, arguing that Honda and Takata are corporate citizens of other states, and that Duval Motors, the only  Florida defendant named, was fraudulently joined by the plaintiff’s petition.

In August 2015, however, the judge rejected that argument, finding Ms. Mincey’s allegations sufficient for state court jurisdiction.

The case is Patricia Mincey v. American Honda Motor Co. Inc., case number 15-ca-000377, in the Circuit Court in the Fourth Judicial District In Duval County, Florida.




Texting Drivers endanger All

Distracted drivingtexting driving is a leading reason for road accidents. Anyone using a cell phone while driving is endangering not only themselves, but every other driver and passenger on the road, as well as pedestrians and their pets. People who text while driving can be particularly hazardous on the highways, especially when that texting is done by truck and bus drivers.

Trucker Texting Banned

Thankfully, in Jan. 2010, the federal government banned truckers and bus drivers from texting while operating behind the wheel. That legislation is part of a growing trend to eliminate threats from distracted drivers.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe. This is an important safety step, and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving.”

Truckers driving while texting are 23 times more likely than non-texting truckers to be involved in a crash or near miss, according to Virginia Tech’s Transportation Institute. Tech researchers examined commercial trucking data from 2004 – 2007 involving 203 truckers and three (3) million driving miles.

In 2011, a staggering 1.3 million auto accidents were caused by drivers texting. Texting drivers are twenty-three percent more likely to be part of an accident.

Texting Drivers endanger All

10 Reasons Not To Text And Drive

1 It’s likely illegal or may be soon in your area – Many cities and states are passing laws to make it illegal to text while driving.

2 Insurance Rate Hikes – Guaranteed price hike for those caught in an accident while texting, even if the accident is not their fault.  Some insurance carriers will drop such people entirely.

3  Your Passengers – Your passengers depend on transporting them safely.

4  Other Motorists – Texting and driving puts everyone sharing the road at risk, too.

5  Pedestrians – Humans are smaller and harder to see than cars and trucks.

6  Safe time is worth your time – It takes less than a minute to park your potential killing machine. Don’t pull over and you may go to jail, or go broke if you hurt someone.

7  Hands-free Technology – Many cars are now equipped with technology that connects cell phone to a car’s stereo system. Bluetooth and voice recognition also allow hands-free communication.

8  Autocorrect Mishaps – Autocorrect features can create problems. Texting while driving is likely to help create such problems.

9  Slowed Reaction Time – Studies by Car and Driver magazine and others have shown that using a cell phone to read or send text messages delays reaction time as much as or more than drunk driving.

10  The Wreck You are about to cause –



Honda Airbag Warning

More than 300,000Honda Hondas and Acuras feature exploding Takata airbags, federal safety regulators said last week.  Those cars should not be driven until their airbags are replaced.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said their latest tests show these airbags have a 50% chance of exploding in an accident, compared with just a 1% chance for other bags.

Honda, Acura  – Grave Risks

The agency said: “The risk posed by the airbag inflators in these vehicles is grave, and it is critical they be repaired now to avoid more deaths and serious injuries.”

Since 2014, nearly 70 million airbags in U.S. cars have been recalled or will be as part of Takata’s huge safety scandal.

Toyota had earlier recalled some 1.4 million cars for Exploding  Takata Airbags.

Texas, Florida, Gulf Coast face Greater Risks

NHTSA said cars in humid U.S. regions such as Florida, Texas, Louisiana and rest of the Gulf Coast face greater risk of airbag explosions.

Takata airbags have been tied to ten (10) deaths in the U.S. so far, eight in autos that had the same Takata airbag specified in the June 30, 2016 warning.

CNN Money noted that this car group is part of a smaller subset with Takata airbags already recalled. Some vehicles contain two Takata airbags needing replacement. Estimates say at least 20% of the 260 million cars on American roads have or had a defective Takata airbag.

Exploding Airbags across the U.S.

Takata airbags have been placed in the cars of at least 13 different automakers, including all the major players. Both Honda and its luxury Acura have had the lion’s share of cars affected by the Takata airbag recall.

Because not all the replacement parts are immediately available, experts say it will take until 2019 to replace all the defective airbags,

The NHTSA said Honda (HMC) has the replacement parts to fix all the 300,000 high-risk cars covered by this alert.

Honda Airbag Warning

Models identified by NHTSA with the defective Takata airbags include:

•  2001-2002 Honda Civic
•  2001-2002 Honda Accord
•  2002-2003 Acura TL
•  2002 Honda CR-V
•  2002 Honda Odyssey
•  2003 Acura CL
•  2003 Honda Pilot

Other Airbag Recalls

Some 700,000 cars with the dangerous airbags have already been repaired. Recalls for those vehicles occurred from 2008 – 2011.

Recalled cars typically take several years to be repaired.  According to car industry figures, roughly 1/3 of all recalled vehicles are never repaired, even in the case of high profile recalls involving several deaths.

NHTSA said 8.9 million Takata airbags were replaced in the last year, a figure that represents only about 1/3 of the cars for which their owners were notified a replacement part is available for them.



DuPont loses $5 Million Teflon Verdict

The cancer-causing C8“nonstick” Teflon DuPont unleashed on the world in the 1950s failed once again to protect the company from getting stuck with a large jury verdict.

After more than a month of testimony, jurors in an Ohio federal courtroom on July 6, 2016 ordered DuPont to pay a man $5.1 million for causing his cancer. Jurors ruled DuPont acted with malice in dumping C8 chemical-tainted water from its West Virginia plant into the Ohio River. That chemical found its way into people’s drinking water (of course) and, according to some 3,500 lawsuits, gave them cancer and/or other problems.

Update:  The jury added $500,000 in punitive damages on July 8.

Teflon Chemical Testicular Cancer

In the latest verdict, Marietta College professor David Freeman said his testicular cancer came from DuPont’s dumping C8 into the Ohio River. Mr. Freeman’s is the second such case to go to trial over DuPont’s C8 contamination. DuPont discharged the chemical into the air and water around its Washington Works facility near Parkersburg, West Virginia.

A jury in the first case to go to trial, in October 2015, returned a $1.6 million verdict for a woman who also claimed her cancer was caused by drinking water contaminated with C8. That jury awarded Carla Bartlett of Guysville, Ohio, $1.1 million in damages. The jury ruled DuPont negligent and awarded $500,000 for emotional distress, though it did not award punitive damages. That verdict is on appeal (of course).

A third case that had been set for a March trial was brought by a man who said C8 exposure caused his ulcerative colitis; he settled for what DuPont described in a U.S. SEC filing as “an inconsequential amount.”  (Inconsequential to whom?)

AP and other news sources said DuPont declined comment after the July 6, 2016 verdict. DuPont said it would not speak about the verdict until the punitives portion is complete.

Perfluorooctanoate Acid – C8 – Teflon Illnesses

C8 is perfluorooctanoate acid, or PFOA. A scientific panel created by an earlier settlement has linked C8 to certain illnesses. In West Virginia, DuPont has used C8 since the 1950s as a processing agent to make Teflon and other nonstick items, oil-resistant paper packaging, stain-resistant textiles. DuPont had earlier settled a large class-action case that left it liable for potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in medical monitoring costs, as well as liable for thousands of follow-up personal injury cases and C8-related toxic cleanups.

DuPont Makeover – Chemours

In July 2015, DuPont spun its Teflon section into a company it now calls Chemours, in an apparent effort to limit liability it faces from C8. Local residents and lawyers for them in Wood County are greatly skeptical about the DuPont makeover/spinoff.

DuPont loses $5 Million Teflon Verdict

Chemours spokesmodel Cynthia Salitsky saic, “Today’s verdict will be appealed. It is important to note that all six bellwether cases in the MDL have now been tried, resolved or otherwise addressed.

Attorneys for Freeman argued that DuPont knew for decades C8 was toxic, yet never revealed it was a likely human carcinogen despite hard  evidence that said it was.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection announced in 2002 that C8 was a “possible cancer risk to the public.”

DuPont paid $16.5 million as part of a federal settlement for a health study of residents whose drinking water was contaminated with C8.  Results released in 2012 showed there was a “probable link” between C8 and several types of cancer as well as other diseases.






Monsanto must face Roundup Cancer Lawsuit

An Hawaiian courtJustice Peaking Blog ruled June 29, 2016 that Monsanto cannot dismiss claims from a wife and husband who say Roundup herbicide  caused the wife’s cancer. Monsanto attorneys had argued that the couple’s claims  were barred by a statute of limitations, and also that their claims were preempted by federal law. A federal judge denied Monsanto on both counts.

Glyphosate non-Hodgkins Lymphoma Link

Christine and Kenneth Sheppard claim agricultural exposure to Roundup caused Christine’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2003.  Law 360 reported that Chief U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright denied Monsanto’s argument that the Sheppard claims were time-barred and preempted by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.

WHO – Glyphosate Cancer Link

The chemical giant from Missouri had argued Christine Sheppard’s “suspicion of wrongdoing” in 2009 should have started the statute of limitations on her case. Monsanto said an editorial Ms. Sheppard had written in 2009 regarding a potential link between Roundup and her cancer should have started the clock ticking on her two-year statute of limitations. The Sheppards countered that Christine was merely suspicious then, and didn’t actually discover a plausible link until 2015 when the World Health Organization (WHO) designated glyphosate, Roundup’s primary ingredient, as a probable human carcinogen.

Judge Seabright found, “[I]t is not apparent on the face of the complaint that the statute of limitations has run, especially considering the allegations regarding the 2015 designation by the WHO.”

“Monsanto’s motion relies on evidence, but this is a motion to dismiss,” Judge Seabright wrote. “Even assuming the court could take judicial notice of the editorial, it is inappropriate to address such disputed evidence … on an affirmative defense at this stage.”

The judge was also not swayed by Monsanto’s argument that the Sheppards’ “warning-based” claims – which include negligence and strict liability failure to warn — were preempted by the FIFRA. The judge said that statute does not allow states to impose any labeling requirement different or beyond what’s required on the federal level; however, said the judge, state-law labeling claims can proceed if they’re consistent with FIFRA.

“Plaintiffs’ warnings-based claims are fully consistent with FIFRA’s labeling requirements, and thus are not preempted,” Judge Seabright ruled. “The complaint is not attempting to impose a different warning label. Rather, plaintiffs contend that Monsanto’s existing label (or the label used from 1995 to 2004) is ‘misbranded’ because it misrepresents Roundup’s safety, and is an inadequate warning.”

Pesticides and FIFRA

A pesticide is misbranded under FIFRA if its label is “false or misleading in any particular way.” The Sheppards’ complaint, the judge said, claims Monsanto should have known Roundup created significant health risks, failed to warn consumers, has allegedly wrongfully concealed information concerning the dangerous nature of the chemical and made false and misleading statements about the product, thus their claims are not preempted.

Monsanto’s EPA Argument

Monsanto had filed several documents which it said showed that since Roundup (glyphosate) was introduced in 1974, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that exposure to glyphosate does not cause cancer.

Judge Seabright, however, was unconvinced. He said that while those documents later in the case might provide some indication of whether glyphosate is likely to be carcinogenic to humans, the materials did not provide the basis for dismissal.

Law 360 said that representatives for both parties on Thursday didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Monsanto must face Roundup Cancer Lawsuit

The case is Christine Sheppard et al. v. Monsanto Co., number 1:16-cv-00043 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii.



Monsanto earns Monsatan Moniker

Monsanto didn’t monsatanjust wake up one day to find itself hated by much of the civilized world. Monsanto earns its Monsatan moniker with its actions.

Monsanto the Poseur

Monsanto poses as a beneficent entity trying to feed the world with drought-resistant crops that require less pesticide than other crops. (Organic farming uses no pesticide.) In reality, Monsanto has worked hard to monopolize the world’s seed supplies, buy up seed producing competitors or force them out of business, contaminate crops and lands all over the world, and keep secret how GMO planting uses more water than conventional or organically farmed crops. Monsanto has also used its deep pockets and considerable political influence to buy up the patents on life, a terrifying power play that should concern anyone with a pulse.

Once Monsanto’s GMO seeds have been blown by wind or moved by pollinators (bees and birds Monsanto’s cancer-causing glyphosate has yet to kill off) beyond fence lines and into neighboring fields, the great and powerful Monsanto then threatens to file legal action to destroy the family farmers’ crops or take his land and business. Most small farmers are forced to settle out of court (they can’t afford to go toe-to-toe with the great Monsatan in the courts, which Monsanto mostly owns) away from the prying eyes of the press and U.S. citizens.

Monsanto’s duplicitous legal argument is that the farmer has violated its patent rights and must therefore pay a steep price.

U.S. Supreme Court backs Monsanto

In January 2014, the US Supreme Court upheld Monsanto’s claims regarding GMO seed patents and the biotech giant’s ability to sue farmers whose fields are contaminated with Monsanto materials.

The nation’s highest court left intact a federal appeals court decision that threw out a 2011 lawsuit from the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and more than 80 other plaintiffs against Monsanto. The lawsuit sought to challenge Monsanto’s aggressive claims on patents of its GMO seeds. The lawsuit also aimed to keep Monsanto from suing farmers whose fields Monsanto contaminates and then claims infringement upon.

The plaintiffs group included several American and Canadian family farmers, independent seed companies and agricultural organizations. They sought preemptive protections against Monsanto’s patents. The court refused to see why they deserved such protection.

Monsanto sues Farmers Routinely

Monsanto has filed more than 140 lawsuits against farmers for planting Monsanto GMO seeds without permission, most of those cases against farmers who had already paid for Monsanto seed but then reused them without buying more seed. Monsanto also settled, after making legal threats, with some 700 other farmers, virtually all of whom are forced to sign non disclosure agreements whereby they agree not to reveal the terms of their “settlement” with the biotech bully from Missouri.

In the lawsuit turned back by the high court in 2014, none of the plaintiffs were Monsanto customers. None had licensing agreements with the company. The plaintiffs argued that they didn’t and don’t want anything to do with Monsanto GMOs; therefore, they deserve legal protections to keep Monsanto from suing them when Monsanto products pollute their lands.

Court remarks Monsanto’s “Promise”

The appeals court decision was absurdly based on Monsanto’s “promise” not to sue farmers whose crops – including corn, soybeans, cotton, canola and others – contained traces of Monsanto’s biotech products.

In June 2013, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC said it was inevitable that Monsanto contamination would occur. Yet the appeals panel also said the plaintiffs do not have standing to prevent Monsanto’s suing them should its “genetic traits” pollute their lands. The court’s reasoning?  “[b]ecause Monsanto has made binding assurances that it will not ‘take legal action against growers whose crops might inadvertently contain traces of Monsanto biotech genes (because, for example, some transgenic seed or pollen blew onto the grower’s land).'”

The panel’s reference to “traces” of Monsanto’s patented genes means farms that are affected by less than 1 percent. If more than 1 percent then, Monsanto may apparently sue.

The plaintiffs also asked Monsanto to pledge not to sue, but Monsanto refused; so one wonders what the appellate court used for ballast in genuflecting to Monsanto’s “promise” not to sue.

A Monsanto statement said, “A blanket covenant not to sue any present or future member of petitioners’ organizations would enable virtually anyone to commit intentional infringement.”

GMO Seeds survive Mass Glyphosate Poisoning to Pollute  Food Supply

Monsanto’s GMO seeds are designed to withstand Monsanto’s herbicide, Roundup, with its main ingredient – cancer-causing glyphosate.

“Monsanto never has and has committed it never will sue if our patented seed or traits are found in a farmer’s field as a result of inadvertent means,” said Kyle McClain, the Monsanto’s chief litigation counsel, according to Reuters.

“Inadvertent,” of course, can now mean anything Monsanto wants it to mean.

Family Farmers Monsanto Predicament

Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association President Jim Gerritsen expressed disappointment that the Supreme Court reaffirmed the previous ruling by refusing to hear the case.

“The Supreme Court failed to grasp the extreme predicament family farmers find themselves in,” said Gerritsen, an organic seed farmer in Maine. “The Court of Appeals agreed our case had merit. However … safeguards they ordered are insufficient to protect our farms and our families.”

The plaintiffs – many of them non-GMO farmers – also lost a district court case.

Monsanto Wins at Both Ends

“If Monsanto can patent seeds for financial gain, they should be forced to pay for contaminating a farmer’s field, not be allowed to sue them,” said Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now! “Once again, America’s farmers have been denied justice, while Monsanto’s reign of intimidation is allowed to continue in rural America.”

Monsanto Owns The Courts, Owns Life

Monsanto, of course, knows that no fencing in the world can stop its crops from polluting the crops of neighboring farms. What happens, typically, is that elements of Monsanto’s corn and soy crops blow into nearby fields where farmers are either organically farming or using more traditional pesticides. Monsanto then files legal actions against the neighboring farmers, charging them with patent infringement. Monsanto says those farmers never paid for the Monsanto seeds, so they have no right to grow the Monsanto products on their property.