THE FEDERAL Court and the Victorian Supreme Court will liaise on March 23 to assess the situation regarding two separate class actions lodged against Bayer alleging its glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup had caused cancer.
LHD Lawyers is taking a case to the Federal Court with around 150 plaintiffs, with the lead plaintiff western Victorian spray contractor John Fenton, now of Robe, South Australia.
Carbone Lawyers has filed an action with the Victorian Supreme Court with around 100 plaintiffs as of December with the action spearheaded by Victorian livestock producer Nando Maisano.
Both class actions allege Roundup, formerly made by Monsanto which Bayer acquired in 2018, is unsafe and that label instructions failed to provide an appropriate warning for users.
LHD Lawyers managing director Matthew Berenger said it was a slightly unusual situation to have two cases so similar.
"The two courts need to assess the multiplicity across the two cases and if they decide they are similar enough then they could be merged into one action," Mr Berenger said.
"If that was the case I would be relatively confident ours, lodged in a national rather than state jurisdiction, would be the one that proceeds but of course we have to wait and see."
Mr Berenger said the LHD class action had members from Queensland to South Australia, with some urban participants but a strong focus on rural and regional areas.
"We have got a lot of enquiry from rural and regional parts of the country where glyphosate use is more common."
He said in spite of the ruling of Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), the national regulator of crop chemicals, that the product was safe he was satisfied there was a strong case, in particular in regards to the labelling.
"There was the marketing when it came out that this product was different, that it required less protection when using than other forms of herbicide.
"We believe the manufacturers ought have known the risks involved."