Rul­ing on weed killer no guar­an­tee for fu­ture for­tunes

The Palm Beach Post - Residences - - Front Page -

Ques­tion: I got freaked out by a jury’s de­ci­sion this month that Mon­santo’s Roundup weed killer, which I have used on my lawn and in my gar­den for years, can cause can­cer. Is there some sort of clas­s­ac­tion law­suit planned? Also, how can I safely get rid of the two or three cans that I have in my garage?

An­swer: Sev­eral law fi­firms are al­ready as­sem­bling mas­sive class-ac­tion law­suits against Mon­santo, which has sold its pop­u­lar Roundup weed killer for decades. A Cal­i­for­nia jury awarded De­wayne John­son $289 mil­lion ear­lier this month after de­cid­ing that the chem­i­cal was re­spon­si­ble for his can­cer.

Many law fi­firms are now so­lic­it­ing clients for planned class-ac­tion suits. If you don’t see their ads on TV or in this news­pa­per, sim­ply go to the in­ter­net and search “Mon­santo Roundup” to fifind one.

Though the $289 mil­lion that the Cal­i­for­nia jury awarded the af­flf­flicted man seems sub­stan­tial, he will see just a frac­tion of that amount.

In an anal­y­sis for Forbes mag­a­zine, noted tax at­tor­ney Robert Wood es­ti­mated that John­son’s le­gal fees and other court-re­lated ex­penses would likely gob­ble up about half of the award.

Be­cause the tax-re­form plan that was ap­proved last De­cem­ber bans de­duc­tions for many types of le­gal ex­penses, he’ll also owe fed­eral taxes on nearly the en­tire amount: That means a cool $92.5 mil­lion for the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice.

On top of that, John­son will have to pay another 10 per­cent or so from the jury award in Cal­i­for­nia state taxes.

In the end, ac­coun­tant Wood es­ti­mates, John­son won’t ac­tu­ally col­lect more than $20 mil­lion — about one-eighth of the orig­i­nal award.

Like you, I have used Mon­santo’s Roundup weed killer for years. I don’t have can­cer, but I won’t use it any­more.

Call your lo­cal law-en­force­ment agency or fi­fire depart­ment to ask how you can safely dis­pose of the un­wanted cans.

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