Jury Awards $289 million to Plaintiff in Roundup Trial

By Swahili Scientists

A jury ruled that Roundup caused Dewayne Johnson's cancer, awarding him $289 million.

A jury ruled that Roundup caused Dewayne Johnson’s cancer, awarding him $289 million.

A California jury found Monsanto, now owned by Bayer AG, liable for a Black man contracting cancer from the company’s glyphosate-based weed-killers, including Roundup, in a lawsuit this past month and ordered the company to pay $289 million in damages, according to Reuters.

The jury at San Francisco’s Superior Court of California deliberated for three days before finding that Monsanto had failed to warn Dewayne Johnson and other consumers of the cancer risks posed by its weed killers. Therefore, it awarded $39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages.

A trial date for Mr. Johnson’s case, which was filed in 2016, was set quickly given the severity of his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph system that was ruled as being caused by Roundup and Ranger Pro, another Monsanto glyphosate herbicide. Additionally, Mr. Johnson’s doctors said he is unlikely to live past 2020.

Dewayne Johnson, 46, is a former pest control manager for a California county school system who applied the weed killer up to 30 times per year.

Brent Wisner, a lawyer for Johnson, said in a statement that jurors saw internal company documents for the first time “proving that Monsanto has known for decades that glyphosate and specifically Roundup could cause cancer.”

“The jury found Monsanto acted with malice and oppression because they knew what they were doing was wrong and doing it with reckless disregard for human life,” said Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a member of Johnson’s legal team, according to the Associated Press.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded that the chemical is not likely carcinogenic to humans last September. However, Glyphosate was already classified as a probable human carcinogen three years ago by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a wing of the World Health Organization.

The case of school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson was the first lawsuit to go to trial alleging that glyphosate causes cancer. Monsanto was bought by Bayer AG following a $62.5 billion acquisition by the German conglomerate. It now faces more than 5,000 similar lawsuits across the United States. Additionally, Bayer stock plunged 11% after news of the Monsanto ruling was released.

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