Mon­santo Or­dered to Pay $289M in Roundup Can­cer Law­suit

Trillions - - Contents -

A Cal­i­for­nia man who sued Mon­santo al­leg­ing the com­pany’s glyphosate-based her­bi­cides caused his ter­mi­nal can­cer was just awarded $289M in a guilty-on-all-counts de­ci­sion by the jury.

On Au­gust 10, a jury in Cal­i­for­nia found Mon­santo li­able for De­wayne “Lee” John­son con­tract­ing can­cer as a di­rect re­sult of ex­po­sure to its Roundup fam­ily of glyphosate-based her­bi­cides.

The case, which be­gan trial on July 9 in San Francisco’s Su­pe­rior Court, in­volves 46-year old De­wayne John­son. For years he served as a groundskeeper for the Beni­cia Uni­fied school dis­trict in Cal­i­for­nia. In that job, for years he had to ap­ply two dif­fer­ent Mon­santo prod­ucts–in­clud­ing the weed killer Roundup --to help kill un­wanted plants on the grounds. While groundskeeper, he was di­ag­nosed with non-hodgkin lym­phoma. He blamed Mon­santo and glyphosate for his ill­ness.

John­son, a fa­ther of three, is dy­ing with no hope of a cure.

He filed his case against Mon­santo on Jan­uary 28, 2016. It was even­tu­ally as­signed on June 18, 2018, to Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos for the Su­pe­rior Court of San Francisco. His case was the first of its kind to pro­ceed to trial af­ter he was di­ag­nosed with the ter­mi­nal ill­ness. Af­ter eight weeks of trial pro­ceed­ings, the jury de­lib­er­ated for three days. They found that Mon­santo failed to warn John­son and other con­sumers of the can­cer risks posed by its weed killer prod­ucts. They awarded John­son $39.2 mil­lion in com­pen­satory and $250 mil­lion in puni­tive dam­ages.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an at­tor­ney rep­re­sent­ing John­son in the case, wrote in a state­ment that the court awarded the puni­tive dam­ages against Mon­santo "for ‘act­ing with mal­ice and op­pres­sion’”.

Co-lead coun­sel Brent Wis­ner of Baum, Hed­lund, Aris­tei and Gold­man, said the verdict was the di­rect re­sult of newly-dis­cov­ered con­fi­den­tial com­pany doc­u­ments from Mon­santo. In a state­ment af­ter the verdict, he said, “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.” He went on to say that, "De­spite the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency’s fail­ure to re­quire la­bel­ing, we are proud that an in­de­pen­dent jury fol­lowed the ev­i­dence and used its voice to send a mes­sage to Mon­santo that its years of de­cep­tion re­gard­ing Roundup is over and that they should put con­sumer safety first over prof­its."

Co-lead coun­sel David Dick­ens of the Miller Firm spoke fur­ther of the damn­ing na­ture of the in­ter­nal doc­u­ments. “Many of these con­fi­den­tial Mon­san-

to doc­u­ments were un­sealed for the first time. They show that Mon­santo knew that its test­ing was in­suf­fi­cient and that there was a syn­er­gis­tic ef­fect when glyphosate is com­bined with sur­fac­tants which help the glyphosate pen­e­trate both plant and an­i­mal cell walls.”

Ron­nie Cum­mins, the in­ter­na­tional di­rec­tor for the Or­ganic Con­sumers As­so­ci­a­tion (OCA), said that, “This verdict proves that when or­di­nary cit­i­zens, in this case a jury of 12, hear the facts about Mon­santo’s prod­ucts, and the lengths to which this com­pany has gone to buy off sci­en­tists, de­ceive the public and in­flu­ence gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tory agen­cies, there is no con­fu­sion.” He added that, “This is a com­pany that has al­ways put prof­its ahead of public safety, and to­day, Mon­santo has fi­nally been held ac­count­able.”

Cum­mins also of­fered praise to the plain­tiff in this case as well. “We are grate­ful to Mr. John­son for bravely fac­ing down the ‘most evil cor­po­ra­tion’ in the world. We hope that this is just the first of many de­feats for Mon­santo, and that the U.S. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency will pull this prod­uct off the mar­ket im­me­di­ately.”

Mon­santo’s Roundup is both ap­plied by it­self as a weed killing agent and in con­junc­tion with the plant­ing of Roundup-re­sis­tant ge­net­i­cally-mod­i­fied crops (GMOS) which dom­i­nate the food in­dus­try world­wide. The glyphosate there has been found not just in work­ers and those who live close to where plant­ing is present, but also in the har­vested food it­self.

Glyphosate has long been proven to dam­age DNA in soil mi­crobes and in the hu­man body.

Most hu­mans have dan­ger­ous con­cen­tra­tions of glyphosate in their bod­ies.

Mon­santo was ac­quired by Bayer AG in a $62.5 bil­lion ac­qui­si­tion. It cur­rently faces more than 5,000 law­suits sim­i­lar to the one just de­cided in John­son’s fa­vor. This cur­rent prece­dent–and the con­fi­den­tial ma­te­ri­als re­leased as part of these pro­ceed­ings–could make a ma­jor dif­fer­ence in how those 5,000+ cases will be de­cided and make it pos­si­ble for even more suits to be filed world­wide.

Brazil just re­cently joined other coun­tries who have wisely banned glyphosate.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on how Mon­santo has fought to hide the truth about the dan­gers of Roundup and glyphosate, please see “Mon­santo’s Se­cret War on Re­al­ity”, pub­lished July 19, 2018 in Tril­lions.

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