In the landmark bellwether trial against Monsanto, a unanimous 12-member jury awarded nearly $300 million in damages to a former California school groundskeeper who claimed his terminal cancer was due to exposure to Roundup.
The plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson, 46, was the first of hundreds of cancer patients to take Monsanto to court under a California law that allows terminally-diagnosed patients expedited trials.
Johnson worked as a school groundskeeper in the San Francisco Bay Area for a number of years. He applied Roundup weedkiller 20 to 30 times per year while working. There were two instances where he was doused with the product during work-related accidents.
Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014 and is severely crippled by lesions that cover nearly 80% of his body. On some days, he is in so much pain he cannot speak. Since he is unable to work, his wife now works two full-time jobs to support their family.
Johnson was initially seeking $400 million in punitive damages and $39 million in compensatory damages from Monsanto. On August 10, he was awarded $250 million in punitive damages and close to $40 million in compensatory damages by the jury.
This case will set the precedent for the hundreds of cases across the country that have been consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL).
Monsanto remains adamant that its product is safe to use and does not cause cancer. However, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a report that the key component of Roundup, glyphosate, is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Attorneys for Johnson said glyphosate isn’t necessarily the problem but the interaction between it and other ingredients in Roundup. He said the combination causes a “synergistic effect” which makes it more carcinogenic.
Currently, there are thousands of cases lined up in various state courts that allege the weed killer causes cancer. Each case within an MDL is given its own trial, unlike a class-action lawsuit. There are an estimated 400 cases that have been filed in federal MDL.
Do I Have a Roundup Lawsuit?
If you or a loved one has worked with Roundup and subsequently been diagnosed with cancer, you are not alone. To learn how the lawyers at Johnson // Becker can help you and your family, please contact us for a Free Case Evaluation. We would be honored to speak with you and will respond promptly to every inquiry we receive.