A San Francisco Jury awarded $289 million in damages to a former school groundskeeper, Dewayne Johnson, who said Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller gave him terminal cancer. The award consists of $40 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages.
Johnson’s trial was fast-tracked due to the severe state of his non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph system he says was triggered by Roundup and Ranger Pro, a similar glyphosate herbicide that he applied up to 30 times per year. His doctors didn’t think he’d live to live to see the verdict.
Johnson testified that he had been involved in two accidents during his work in which he was doused with the product, the first of which happened in 2012. Two years later, the 46-year-old father of two was diagnosed with lymphoma — which has covered as much as 80% of his body in lesions.
Monsanto says it will appeal the verdict.
“’Today’s decision does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews — and conclusions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. National Institutes of Health and regulatory authorities around the world — support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr. Johnson’s cancer,’ Monsanto Vice President Scott Partridge said in a statement.”
Monsanto is a subsidiary of Germany’s Bayer AG, which closed on its $66 billion purchase of the agrochemical company in June.
On Tuesday, Johnson’s attorney Brent Wisner urged jurors to hold Monsanto liable and slap them with a verdict that would “actually change the world” — after arguing that Monsanto knew about glyphosate’s risks of cancer, but decided to ignore and bury the information.
“According to The Guardian, Johnson is the first person to take Monsanto to trial over allegations that the chemical sold under the Roundup brand is linked to cancer although thousands have made similar legal claims across the United States. This lawsuit focuses on the chemical glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide, which Monsanto began marketing as Roundup in 1974. The company began by presenting it as a “technological breakthrough” that could kill almost every weed without harming humans or the environment.” –SHTFplan.com
In September, 2017 the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded that glyphosates were not likely carcinogenic to humans, based on a decades-long assessment. In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO)’s cancer arm issued an opposite statement — warning that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans.”