Lawsuits Claim Monsanto's Roundup Weedkiller Causes Cancer

Web Admin - Monday, September 24, 2018
Des Plaines toxic chemical injury lawyerAs a school groundskeeper in northern California, Dewayne Johnson sprayed an estimated 150 gallons of Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup 20 to 30 times a year between 2012 and 2016. He continued this work even after being diagnosed with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) in 2014. Despite aggressive chemotherapy, the disease advanced, causing thick, painful skin lesions over most of his body. In 2016, Mr. Johnson filed a personal injury lawsuit in federal court against Monsanto, alleging that Roundup contributed to his cancer and that the manufacturer knew that the chemical was hazardous but failed to provide sufficient warnings to users. 

On August 10, 2018, with his disease in the terminal stage and doctors estimating he had just months to live, the 46-year-old plaintiff was awarded $39 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages by a San Francisco jury. 

An estimated 8,000 lawsuits have now been filed against Monsanto by Roundup users who developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or other types of cancer. In addition to the multidistrict federal cases, lawsuits have also been filed in state courts in California, Delaware, Missouri, and Montana. 

Scientists and Studies Differ on Roundup’s Safety

On one side, Monsanto claims that hundreds of studies have shown that glyphosate is not a serious health hazard to humans. The company also denies any link between Roundup and cancer. In the Johnson trial, the plaintiff pointed out that non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma can develop very slowly, showing no symptoms for years; therefore, Johnson’s illness could well have begun prior to 2012, when he began working with Roundup.

In December 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft report on glyphosate which concluded that “glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans” when used according to label directions. The EPA stated that its findings “are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by a number of other countries as well as the 2017 National Institute of Health Agricultural Health Survey.”

On the other side, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (a subsidiary of the World Health Organization) classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” in a 2015 report. It was classified under level 2 out of four levels, where level 1 is “carcinogenic to humans” and level 3 is “possibly carcinogenic.” 

"This jury found Monsanto acted with malice and oppression because they knew what they were doing was wrong and doing it with reckless disregard for human life," said Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a member of Johnson's legal team. 

Consult a Rolling Meadows Personal Injury Attorney 

If you suspect that you or family member has been harmed by exposure to a toxic chemical, such as the glyphosate in Roundup, talk to an experienced Schaumburg personal injury lawyer. The attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC will carefully review your case and recommend a course of action. If we determine that you have a strong case, we will fight relentlessly for your right to compensation for your losses. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to schedule a consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


The Illinois Will Probate Process: Settling an Estate

Web Admin - Friday, September 21, 2018
Arlington Heights estate planning probate lawyerThe passing of assets from one generation to the next is a long-standing tradition, typically governed by a written will. When a person with a large estate dies, a legal process called probate ensures that the terms of the will are properly carried out. The process of probating a will in Illinois is controlled by the Illinois Probate Act and the rules of the circuit court in the decedent’s county of residence.

When an Illinois Will Must Go Through Probate

An Illinois estate must be probated when its total value exceeds $100,000 (excluding jointly-held properties and accounts with named beneficiaries, which transfer automatically upon death).

The Process to Probate a Will in Illinois

1. Petition for Probate - The first step is to file a Petition for Probate with the circuit court. This petition includes the will itself, the current estimated value of the estate, the names and addresses of heirs, and other information necessary to begin settling the estate. The executor named in the will or their appointed attorney must file this petition within 30 days of the decedent’s death and send copies to all heirs.

2. Hearing to Open Probate - The court will conduct a short hearing to officially validate the will and admit the will to probate. At the hearing, heirs may enter their objections to any part of the petition, such as the validity of the will itself, the person(s) designated to administer the estate, or the person(s) designated to act as personal fiduciaries for any underage or disabled heirs. The court will approve the executor and issue letters testamentary that authorize the executor to act on behalf of the estate.

3. Inventory of Assets - The executor has the responsibility to locate and secure all assets of the estate. A written inventory must be made, listing all bank and investment accounts, real estate, and personal property of significant value. Appraisals may be necessary to establish date of death” values for each piece of real and personal property.

4. Payment of Debts and Taxes - The executor must notify all creditors of the decedent and pay outstanding bills, including property taxes and any other expenses necessary to protect the assets of the estate. The estate must remain open for at least six months to ensure that all creditors are identified and paid. The executor must also file final state and federal tax returns for the decedent.

5. Petition for Distribution of the Estate - Upon conclusion of the prior steps, the executor must provide an accounting of their work on the estate, including all receipts and disbursements. The executor will then ask the court for permission to distribute the remainder of the estate according to the terms of the will. (When there is no question that the estate contains more than sufficient funds to pay off all debts, some distribution of assets may occur before the final accounting.) 

Consult a Palatine Estate Planning Lawyer

Ensure that your hard-earned assets are distributed to your heirs according to your wishes. An experienced Barrington estate planning attorney at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you develop an estate plan that will meet your specific goals and, after your death, ensure that your will is probated efficiently. Contact us at 847-934-6000.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.


Marijuana a Rising Factor in Personal Injury Cases

Web Admin - Monday, September 17, 2018
Des Plaines marijuana product liability lawyerNow that 30 states (including Illinois) have legalized marijuana for medical use and nine also allow recreational use, the number of personal injury lawsuits involving cannabis is growing.

Background on the Cannabis Market

Over 100 distinct chemicals, broadly termed phytocannabinoids, are present naturally in the cannabis plant. Currently, two of the best-understood cannabinoids are THC, the psychoactive ingredient that produces a euphoric sensation, and CBD (cannabidiol), which has demonstrated pain-relieving, inflammation-reducing, neuro-protective, and cancer-fighting properties.

As scientists learn more about the way cannabinoids affect the human body and discover new applications for these chemicals, the variety of products made from cannabis is increasing. In fact, the U.S. market for legal cannabis is expected to grow 17% per year through 2028, reaching nearly $50 billion in annual sales. In comparison, U.S. wine sales are estimated at $65 billion. 

With such rapid growth, mistakes are bound to be made, and injuries are likely to result. 

Potential Grounds for Cannabis Personal Injury Lawsuits

Here are a few situations that could be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit against a marijuana producer/distributor: 

- Failure to warn of risks. If a cannabis product has the potential to impair a consumer’s ability to drive, or if it could affect a person’s thoughts or behavior in other ways that could prove dangerous, the packaging should provide appropriate warnings. If such warnings are not provided, and someone suffers an injury as a result, the producer/distributor could be sued for negligence and required to pay compensation to the victim. 

- Misleading or false advertising. If a producer says (in advertising, on packaging, or otherwise) that their product will provide a particular benefit, and the product fails to perform as promised, a consumer could file a lawsuit on the grounds of breach of contract or breach of warranty. 

- Product contamination. Many states do not yet have laws regulating the use of pesticides, fungicides, and other chemicals on marijuana crops, nor adequate procedures to enforce such regulations or test for toxins. Many lawsuits have resulted from contaminated consumables in other industries (e.g., E. coli in ground beef), and there have already been lawsuits against marijuana producers alleging harmful contamination. 

- Unsafe packaging. Marijuana products containing THC should be provided in packaging that is both child-resistant and tamper-evident, just as is required for other medicinal products that have a potential to cause harm. Portion sizes and the amount of THC per portion should also be made very clear on product labels. Defective packaging and foreseeable misuse could become grounds for a lawsuit. 

While the probability of a fatal overdose is near zero, marijuana is an intoxicant, and overconsumption can have serious consequences. Because of the potential for personal injury lawsuits, many states are requiring marijuana businesses to purchase liability insurance, so that funds will be available to compensate consumers for injuries caused by cannabis products.

An Arlington Heights Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a medical cannabis product, consult an experienced Palatine personal injury attorney to discuss the details of your case and possible options for recovering compensation. The attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC provide skilled representation, working to protect your rights when you have been harmed by an unsafe product. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to schedule a consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


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