Former Steelers running back and longtime ESPN analyst Merril Hoge has sued Monsanto, joining more than 18,000 others in alleging that the company’s popular weedkiller Roundup causes cancer, CNN.com reported.
In his suit, filed this month in U.S. District Court in Idaho, Hoge claims that Roundup caused his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, resulting in permanent “physical pain and mental anguish,” accusing Monsanto of negligence and says the company promoted “false, misleading, and untrue” statements about the weedkiller’s safety.
“By reason of the foregoing,” the suit says, “plaintiff (Hoge) is severely and permanently injured.”
According to the lawsuit, Hoge, 54, began working on a farm as a boy in Idaho in 1977 and was exposed to Roundup as he mixed and sprayed weedkiller on crops and other plants as part of his job. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2003.
He is now among some 18,400 other plaintiffs suing Monsanto, whose parent company, Bayer, says hundreds of studies over 40 years support Roundup’s safety.
“We have great sympathy for any individual with cancer, but the extensive body of science on glyphosate-based herbicides over four decades supports the conclusion that Roundup does not cause (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma),” Bayer said in a statement Wednesday to CNN.com.
Of the thousands of lawsuits claiming that Roundup caused plaintiffs’ cancer, only three have gone to trial, but juries have sided with the cancer patients in all three — including a California jury in May that just awarded a couple $2 billion in damages, though the verdict is being appealed, Monsanto said.
Hoge’s case was transferred to multidistrict litigation in Northern California, his attorney Joseph Osborne told CNN.com.
Hoge, a 10th-round pick of the Steelers in the 1987 draft, played seven seasons for Pittsburgh before retiring after one season with the Bears in 1994, his career cut short because of multiple concussions. (Ironically, he co-authored a book, “Brainwashed,” that questioned the science behind CTE, sparking a controversy last year.)
He was a football analyst for ESPN from 1996-2017.