On September 6th, a New York judge blocked Monsanto’s attempt to subpoena documents from the political activist group Avaaz. The biotech firm requested the subpoena in February 2018 as part of a Missouri lawsuit alleging that its herbicide Roundup causes non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
According to Scott Partridge, Monsanto’s vice president for global strategy, the company suspected there was a “…. coordinated campaign between Avaaz and the plaintiff’s lawyers [to spread] misinformation about the safety of glyphosate ….” while Avaaz lobbied against glyphosate’s re-authorization in Europe in 2017.
Avaaz denied any connection to the attorneys in the Missouri case. “We have never spoken to the plaintiff’s lawyers,” Emma Ruby-Sachs, Avaaz’s deputy director, told the Guardian in February. “We didn’t even know this case existed until we got the subpoena. I’m 100% confident of that, as we had to look it up and it took a while to figure out what it was.” She added that handing over the documents to Monsanto would constitute a violation of the group’s right to privacy.
New York State judge Shlomo S. Hagler granted Avaaz’s petition to quash the subpoena on September 6th, ruling the documents Monsanto requested were “utterly irrelevant” to the lawsuit in Missouri.