A Houston law firm may have committed malpractice by failing to hire an expert witness to testify on behalf of two clients who filed individual Roundup cancer lawsuits, according to the federal judge handling the cases.
On Dec. 29, 2021, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria ordered attorneys at Houssiere, Durant & Houssiere to “read this ruling out loud to their clients, and send them a written copy,” LegalNewsline.com reported.
Judge Chhabria’s order stated that plaintiffs still “must present at least one admissible expert opinion to support their contention that Roundup was the specific cause of their NHL.”
However, in the two cases Chhabria dismissed, no experts were identified before a deadline that was previously set months ago.
“Perhaps this is because no expert was willing to opine” that Roundup caused their cancer, the judge said in the order. “Or perhaps it is because lawyers from the Houssiere firm committed malpractice by failing to secure a specific causation expert.”
To win a mass tort lawsuit, plaintiffs must prove both general and specific causation in regards to their injury. For general causation, plaintiffs must prove that a specific substance, in this instance glyphosate, is capable of causing injury. For specific causation, plaintiffs must demonstrate that glyphosate caused the plaintiff to develop a unique injury: non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), in this case.
Doctors are often hired by plaintiff’s attorneys to demonstrate specific causation in trial. These doctors are supposed to provide evidence that eliminates other potential root causes of a plaintiff’s disease and points to the defendants as the originators of the disease. However, in Roundup cancer trials, defense attorneys have maintained that NHL, in more than 70% of all cases, has no identifiable cause other than age.
In the Roundup cancer lawsuits that have survived dismissal motions, plaintiff’s attorneys have relied on a small number of scientific experts to testify that glyphosate causes NHL.
After losing the first three Roundup cancer trials, each one returning verdict awards in the tens of millions of dollars, juries have returned verdicts in Bayer’s favor in the two most recent trials. No mention has yet been made as to whether the attorneys from Houssiere, Durant & Houssiere will face an investigation for their potential misconduct.