Home Scandal and Gossip $289M: Monsanto weedkiller caused groundsman’s cancer rules jury, acted with malice.

$289M: Monsanto weedkiller caused groundsman’s cancer rules jury, acted with malice.

Dewayne Johnson
Pictured San Francisco man, Dewayne Johnson who won a $269 million judgement against Monsanto after contracting cancer using the chemical-agricultural maker's popular weedkiller, Roudup.
Dewayne Johnson
Pictured San Francisco man and winning plaintiff successfully suing Monsanto, Dewayne Johnson.

San Francisco man, Dewayne Lee Johnson wins a $289 million verdict judgement against Monsanto after contracting cancer using the chemical-agricultural maker’s popular weed killer, Roundup.

A California jury has ruled Monsanto is liable to the tune of $289 million after deciding the agrochemical giant’s popular Roundup weed killer was directly attributable to a San Francisco’s man dying of cancer.

The first of a kind verdict comes as plaintiff Dewayne Lee Johnson, 46, a San Francisco groundsman has likely only weeks to come. In essence a hollow victory for him, but one that could cause enough of a dent to Montano’s new owner, German-based pharmaceutical and chemical group Bayer as new cases are expected to flood the courts.

The lawsuit was the first to go to trial among hundreds filed in state and federal US courts claiming Roundup Pro and Ranger Pro causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which Monsanto denies.

Jurors in California’s Superior Court agreed the product contributed to Johnson‘s cancer and the company should have provided a label warning of the potential health hazard.

Johnson’s attorneys sought and won $US39 million in compensatory damages and $US250 million of the $US373 million they wanted in punitive damages reported AP.

In delivering the award, the jury also found Monsanto ‘acted with malice, oppression or fraud and should be punished for its conduct,’ Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos announced in court in San Francisco.

Dewayne Johnson, ‘David vs Goliath’, Monsanto opponent: 

Addressing a press conference on Friday evening, Johnson thanked his legal team, his wife, Araceli who worked 14 hour days to support the family, and the couple’s two sons.

‘It’s taken a lot of prayer, I’ve taken energy from a lot of people. I’m glad to be here to help. Hopefully this thing will start to get the attention it needs. This case is way bigger than me,’ he said.

‘This 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.

Co-lead trial counsel Brent Wisner claimed Monsanto’s downfall the result of newly-revealed, confidential company documents.

‘We were finally able to show the jury the secret, internal Monsanto documents proving that Monsanto has known for decades that glyphosate and specifically Roundup could cause cancer,’ Wisner said.

Did Monsanto know active ingredient, Glyphosate could cause cancer?

Coming into trial, Monsanto denied a link between the active ingredient in Roundup — glyphosate — and cancer, claiming hundreds of studies establishing that glyphosate is safe.

The dailymail reported Johnson using Roundup and a similar product, Ranger Pro, as a pest control manager at a San Francisco Bay Area school district. He sprayed large quantities from a 189 liter tank attached to a truck, and during gusty winds the product would cover his face, told one of the plaintiff’s attorneys, Brent Wisner.

In one instance a hose broke and the weed killer soaked his entire body.

Johnson read the label and even contacted the company after developing a rash but was never warned it could cause cancer.

By 2014, at age 42, the landscape garderner was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

‘The simple fact is he is going to die. It’s just a matter of time,’ Brent Wisner told the jury in his opening statement last month.

But George Lombardi, an attorney for Monsanto, said non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma takes years to develop, so Johnson’s cancer must have started well before he began working at the school district.

The US Environmental Protection Agency says Roundup’s active ingredient is safe for people when used in accordance with label directions.

However, the France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, classified it as a ‘probable human carcinogen‘ in 2015. California has since added glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer.

Monsanto is already understood to be planning to appeal Friday’s verdict with the compensation only to be released when this has been heard, by which time, Dewayne Johnson will most likely be long dead….