A lawsuit was filed in a Virginia federal court on Jan. 19 on behalf of a Mexican farmworker who claims she was illegally denied a Roundup weedkiller cancer claim settlement because she is not a U.S. citizen, Reuters reported.
Elvira Reyes-Hernandez, 47, was diagnosed in 2019 with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the type of cancer that more than 125,000 plaintiffs allege they developed because of exposure to the controversial herbicide that was created by the Monsanto Corporation. Monsanto was acquired by the German multinational corporation, Bayer AG, in 2018 for $63 billion.
In June 2020, Bayer reached an $11 billion settlement agreement to resolve approximately 95,000 out of 125,000 Roundup claims.
Reyes-Hernandez alleges that she worked on tree farms in Virginia where she frequently used Roundup. Her complaint says that she was expected to share in a $412 million settlement that was part of the global settlement deal reached in 2020.
That particular portion of the global settlement had an average payout of $120,000, but Reyes-Hernandez says that she never received her portion of the settlement after her case was dismissed by her former law firm, which she is also suing. The law firm dismissed her case in July 2021, several months after she signed payout papers with the law firm. Reyes-Hernandez claims the law firm dismissed her case because of her Mexican citizenship.
Now represented by an advocacy group, Reyes-Hernandez is suing Bayer and the law firm because they have violated federal civil rights law and have prevented her from recovering financial compensation for her cancer.
Non-U.S. citizens account for more than 70% of all agricultural farmworkers in the U.S., according to Reyes-Hernandez’s complaint, which seeks to require Bayer AG to allow non-U.S. citizens to join Roundup settlement classes. Her lawsuit also seeks unspecified damages.
Reyes-Hernandez re-filed her Roundup personal injury lawsuit in Missouri in July 2022 after attaining the services of another attorney.