By Shawn Ness | August 21, 2023
The Monsanto Company has filed a petition with New York State’s Supreme Court seeking a court order for the University at Albany to release their records (or portions of the records) on Dr. David Carpenter, the director of UAlbany’s Institute for Health and the Environment. Dr. Carpenter frequently provides expert testimony against Monsanto in toxic tort cases revolving around their production of Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Dr. Carpenter in front of a drawing of a molecule.
Photo Credit: Paul Buckowski: Albany Times Union
“I’m fully aware of this Monsanto action, a truly evil corporation!” Dr. Carpenter said. “...they were not able to find that I had done anything wrong. It is clear that all faculty members have the right to provide expert witness work…”
UAlbany recently reinstated Dr. Carpenter after the university placed him on an “alternate assignment” during an internal investigation about how he manages the funds that he received from his expert witness testimony. The investigation stemmed from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by Monsanto and its parent company Bayer.
The Monsanto Company is represented by Shook Hardy & Bacon, the same company that represented them in numerous toxic tort cases and the same company that filed the previous FOIA request, and is now continuing that fight.
Dr. Carpenter serves as a key witness in a trial between the Monsanto Company and the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, a Native American tribe in Franklin County on the New York Canadian border. Carpenter is set to testify on the “general PCB toxicity, alleged human health effects of PCB exposures on members of the Tribe, and medical monitoring or screening tests he asserts are reasonably medically necessary as a result of those exposures,” the motion reads.
Dr. Carpenter used the money he received and funneled it back to the university to help students, staff and research programs, according to the motion request. “Apparently they think that is illegal, I don’t quite understand why it should be,” Dr. Carpenter told the ASP in March.
A Missouri court rejected a petition from the Monsanto Company earlier this year to re-open pre-trial discovery in the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe. The most recent case is apparently an effort to have the university turn over those documents that the Missouri court determined were not relevant to obtain before the Missouri trial, according to a Times Union article.
UAlbany previously denied the request for the records citing that they would violate Dr. Carpenter’s privacy.