Monsanto Co. doesn’t have to face wrongful death claims alleging its Roundup weedkiller caused a Georgia man’s fatal cancer, a federal judge has ruled, holding the claims as time-barred under state law.
U.S. District Judge Lisa G. Wood \ dismissed some claims brought by Georgia widow Janice Dollar in June 2020, blaming Monsanto for the death of her husband Michael Dollar in December 2012. Dollar, suing individually and as the personal representative of her husband’s estate, claimed she didn’t know until 2019 her husband’s cancer was linked to his exposure to Roundup.
Georgia’s two-year statute of limitations for personal injury in relation to the death of Dollar’s husband ran out in December 2014 and is not tolled by her delayed discovery of the alleged cause.
Georgia has a five-year tolling period for an estate to become represented, as well as a discovery rule that the statute of limitations begins when the plaintiff discovers the alleged harm.
Dollar discovered the Roundup cancer link in 2019, the same year that she was appointed as the personal representative of her husband’s estate. Her husband died at the age of 58, after being diagnosed with cancer in 2009. He was exposed to Roundup while working since 2001 for a Georgia nursery, where he sprayed the weedkiller on fields and at their home weekly without protection. She was also exposed to the weedkiller without protection and was diagnosed in 2016 with a pre-cancer condition with an expectation of developing the same type of cancer that killed her husband.
Judge Wood effectively barred Dollar from pursuing damages in any of her claims related to her husband’s alleged wrongful death, allowing her only to seek damages on survivor claims as his widow.