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St. Louis-Based Onder Law Firm Joins Ben Crump in Federal Lawsuit to Stop Sale of Roundup

St. Louis-Based Onder Law Firm Joins Ben Crump in Federal Lawsuit to Stop Sale of Roundup

Posted on Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

PRESS RELEASE                                                            

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Federal lawsuit against St. Louis-based Bayer-Monsanto alleges disproportionate harm to Black farmers.                       

(ST. LOUIS, MO) August 26, 2020 – St. Louis-based OnderLaw has joined nationally renowned civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump and the National Black Farmers Association to stand up to Bayer-Monsanto to say that Black lives matter. Crump has filed an action in federal court to prohibit the company from continuing to profit from the sale of deadly glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide, which he says affects a disproportionate number of Black farmers.

OnderLaw is joining this effort, along with representatives of NAACP, Urban League, and National Black Farmers Association and local community activists. The group held a news conference August 26, 2020 at Bayer-Monsanto’s St. Louis headquarters to announce the action and to say that enough is enough.

For more than a century, Black farmers have fought an uphill battle for equality, facing plummeting crop prices, parasitic corporations, racist lenders, and discrimination in the market. 

Bayer-Monsanto has been one of the worst offenders of questionable practices, forcing Black farmers to buy Roundup-resistant seeds and into reliance on deadly Roundup weedkiller while they claw the dirt to keep from going under. 

“Abraham Lincoln may have signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, but Black American farmers are still not free,” says Crump. “They live in bondage to Bayer Corporation and its subsidiary Monsanto, the creator and marketer of the deadly weedkiller Roundup, enslaved by their Roundup-resistant seeds.”

Monsanto began selling glyphosate-based Roundup in 1974 after its sales of Agent Orange to the U.S. Government during the Vietnam War tapered. In 1996, the company introduced genetically altered Roundup-ready seeds, which allowed the weedkiller to make an extremely profitable jump into the agricultural sector. 

Roundup-ready seeds are known as “terminator seeds” because, once planted, the crops they grow become sterile. This forces farmers to buy new seeds, as well as more Roundup, allowing Bayer-Monsanto to pocket billions of dollars, year after year, despite the fact that the company is aware of solid studies linking Roundup to cancer.

Attorney Jim Onder, who represents 25,000 clients who have developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after using Roundup, is passionate about changing the cruel way Bayer-Monsanto does business.

“Bayer-Monsanto has gotten fat off the profits of Roundup while farmers who work the land to feed their families are dying,” Onder says. “Every day I talk to farmers who have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a deadly cancer caused by glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. Their hair is falling out from chemotherapy, they’re losing their livelihoods, and they are losing their lives — all because of Bayer-Monsanto’s greed.”

While other countries across the world have banned the use of Roundup after the World Health Organization linked the chemical to cancer. Yet Bayer-Monsanto’s propaganda machine has only worked harder in the United States to spread misinformation, to deny responsibility, and to make more money off of the lives –and deaths — of farmers.

Black farmers are especially susceptible. Economic, educational, and institutional disparities have limited their access to information they need to make informed decisions about the dangers of Roundup, and they often have no choice but to use the deadly chemical. They are forced to trade a few short-term benefits for the pain, grief, and hardships of the cancer it causes.

“Roundup-Monsanto’s plot to force farmers to rely on Roundup is one of the most cynical and destructive business plans in the history of our nation,” Onder says. “Black farmers have been trapped into using this dangerous product and they are paying for it with their economic freedom, their health, and in some cases, their lives.”

Jim Onder represents clients in the largest number of unsettled glyphosate-related non-Hodgkin lymphoma cases against Bayer-Monsanto. He originally gained renown for representing parents whose children were killed in tragic miniblind accidents and is largely responsible for life-saving changes now enforced by the miniblind industry. He is currently representing approximately 25,000 women who have suffered ovarian cancer following talcum powder use, and thousands of other clients whose lives have been affected by dangerous drugs, medical devices, and other products. Onder has recovered approximately $4 billion in damages on behalf of victims whose interests he’s represented.

Crump is well-known for his representation of the families of Black Americans tragically killed by police, including George Floyd and Jacob Blake, as well as a champion for children of Flint, Michigan who have been poisoned by lead in the city’s water supply. He has represented African American and Hispanic women who suffered ovarian cancer from the use of talcum powder.

German-based Bayer bought Monsanto in 2018. Juries have awarded farmers, lawn care providers, and other plaintiffs billions of dollars in damages in recent years for cancer they’ve suffered due to Roundup use. The corporation stands to lose more in the tens of thousands of heartbreaking cases still to be heard.

“We are at a tipping point in our country,” Crump says. “Americans are demanding racial justice, whether in our policing and our criminal justice system or in the value placed on Black and Hispanic lives by corporations that profit while harming them. This is a time when Americans are demanding justice and change.”

 

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