Jury Awards $289 Million in the First Monsanto Cancer Roundup Case
Roundup is the most popular weedkiller in the world. In recent years, an alleged link to cancer has sparked thousands of lawsuits. This week, a jury in California awarded a dying man $289 million in the first Monsanto cancer Roundup case.
The case is highly significant. It could set an important precedent for others who claim the use of Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas.
Just as importantly, people in Virginia who have not yet linked their cancer to the use of Roundup may realize the popular weedkiller is to blame for the terrible ordeal they are going through.
Dewayne Johnson brought the first case. The former school groundskeeper is dying from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His case was expedited.
In the first Monsanto cancer Roundup case, San Francisco jurors ruled that Roundup gave the former school groundskeeper terminal cancer. They awarded Johnson $289 million in damages. The bulk of the award was intended to punish Monsanto, the giant agricultural company that produces Roundup.
Doctors said Johnson is near death. In California, dying plaintiffs can be granted expedited trials, CNN reported.
The jury at the Superior Court of California in San Francisco awarded Johnson $250 million in punitive damages intended to punish Monsanto and $39 million in compensatory damages after three days of deliberation.
The money won’t help Johnson much. He has been given a short time to live. Johnson’s attorney said the money will help his two sons after their father has passed away.
How Does Roundup Cause Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?
Lawyers for former groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson claimed exposure to Roundup caused terrible damage to the school worker’s health. Johnson, 46, applied the weedkiller up to 20 times year while he was working as a groundskeeper for a California school district near San Francisco.
Johnson reported two accidents in which he was soaked with Roundup during his time working as a groundskeeper He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014. Now lesions cover about 80 percent of his body. Some days he is too crippled by cancer to even speak.
It’s horrifying to think a man doing his job could suffer so much at a relatively young age due to exposure to a popular weedkiller.
Will First Monsanto Cancer Roundup Case Open the Door to Many More?
The verdict in San Francisco may pave the way for thousands more cases against Monsanto, even though the manufacturer of Roundup denies the link and has vowed to appeal the verdict.
Two months ago, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria allowed hundreds of cases brought against Monsanto to proceed. The judge in San Francisco described the evidence of the cancer link as “rather weak” but he said three expert opinions linking glyphosate, a chemical in Roundup, to cancer were not junk science.
How Strong is the Link Between Glyphosate and Cancer?
The big questions in the courtroom this week were whether Roundup can cause cancer and, if so, whether Monsanto failed to warn users of the weedkiller about the product’s cancer risks. The jury sided with Dewayne Johnson on both key questions.
However, two bodies of research are at odds about the link between glyphosate in herbicides and cancer.
In March 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded glyphosate in Monsanto’s Roundup, glyphosate, is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Monsanto cites studies from a number of bodies including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Monsanto Vice President Scott Partridge said in a statement:
“More than 800 scientific studies, the US EPA, the National Institutes of Health and regulators around the world have concluded that glyphosate is safe for use and does not cause cancer.”
The stance of the EPA was questioned by one plaintiff who claims the former chair of an EPA committee offered to stop an independent review into whether glyphosate could cause cancer.
The experience of many users of Roundup contradicts Monsanto’s stance. CNN has also reported on the case of Christine Sheppard from Hawaii, a longtime user of Roundup until her right leg swelled up enormously. An ultrasound later revealed her leg was full of lymph nodes. She was diagnosed with IV large-cell lymphomas. The symptoms became worse and impacted her mobility.
Lawyers for victims have seen the number of claims against Monsanto soar into four figures. More people are claiming Roundup caused their cancer every day. Some of the victims are in Virginia.
At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, our attorneys have a long track record of fighting for victims against big companies that produce dangerous products. We are appalled by the ordeal many Roundup users are going through. It appears that Monsanto failed to warn them of the serious dangers of using this product. Please call us at (757) 455-0077 if you believe Roundup may have affected your health.