Former Monsanto Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant is currently in the news. He is trying to avoid appearing in court to be questioned by lawyers on behalf of a cancer patient in the case of Allan Shelton v Monsanto.
Shelton has non-Hodgkin lymphoma and is one of the 100,000-plus people in the US claiming in lawsuits that exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer and its other brands containing the chemical glyphosate caused their cancer.
According to investigative journalist Carey Gillam, Shelton’s lawyers have argued that Grant was an active participant and decision maker in the company’s Roundup business and should be made to testify at the trial.
But Grant says in the court filings that the effort to put him on the stand in front of a jury is “wholly unnecessary and serves only to harass and burden” him.
His lawyers state that Grant does not have “any expertise in the studies and tests that have been done related to Roundup generally, including those related to Roundup safety”.
Gillam notes that the court filings state that Grant’s testimony “would be of little value” because he is not a toxicologist, an epidemiologist, or a regulatory expert and “did not work in the areas of toxicology or epidemiology while employed by Monsanto”.
Bayer acquired Monsanto in 2018 and Grant received an estimated $77 million post-sale payoff. Bloomberg reported in 2017 that Monsanto had increased Grant’s salary to $19.5 million for that fiscal year.
Even by 2009, Roundup-related products, which include genetically modified seeds developed to withstand glyphosate-based applications, represented about half of Monsanto’s gross margin. It is reasonable to say that Roundup was integral to Monsanto’s business model and Grant’s enormous income and final payoff.
But the cancer lawsuits in the US are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the damage done by glyphosate-based products and many other biocides.