Dewayne Johnson was awarded $289 million in a lawsuit that claimed Monsanto’s popular weedkiller, Roundup, gave him terminal cancer.
More than 800 patients have filed lawsuits against Monsanto claiming Roundup gave them cancer. Johnson’s case was the first to go to trial after doctors feared that he would not live to hear the verdict.
Johnson testified that he applied Roundup weedkiller 20 to 30 times per year during his time working as a groundskeeper for a school district near San Francisco. Johnson’s first accident happened in 2012 when he was soaked with the product.
Johnson was diagnosed in 2014 with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and lesions cover as much as 80% of his body. In 2017, his oncologists determined he had six months left to live.
The $250 million in punitive damages and approximately $39 million in compensatory damages won’t change the fact that Johnson’s two sons might lose their father soon, but it will help them live more comfortably.
Monsanto issued a statement after the verdict saying it stands by the studies that suggest Roundup does not cause cancer.
Monsanto’s Vice President Scott Partridge plans to appeal the decision, saying “We will continue to vigorously defend this product, which has a 40-year history of safe use and continues to be a vital, effective, and safe tool for farmers and others”.
The question consumers are left with is how carcinogenic (or not) are Roundup and glyphosate. In March 2015, The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer said that glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, is “probably carcinogenic to humans”.
Some claim that glyphosate isn’t the problem, Roundup is. Glyphosate and the ingredients in Roundup may cause a “synergistic effect” that makes the product more carcinogenic. This notion has been disputed by Monsanto, saying regulatory authorities help ensure Roundup as a whole is safe.
This verdict should serve as a huge wake up call for the EPA, who has neglected to require labeling on Roundup.
NastLaw is currently investigating Roundup lawsuits on behalf of individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer after using the weedkiller Roundup. Contact NastLaw for more information.