The massive agricultural giant Monsanto just took a major hit in the court system for manufacturing products that are not safe for the public. A terminally ill man has been awarded $289 million in the first cancer-related trial against the controversial company.
Dewyane Johnson, 46, claimed in the lawsuit that his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was caused by his use of Roundup weedkiller and one other Monsanto product during his work as a school groundskeeper.
The jury in a San Francisco Superior Court on Friday unanimously ordered the company to award Johnson $250 million in punitive damages and $39 million in compensatory damages, according to the Associated Press.
Dewyane Johnson thanked the jury and said he believes his case will set a precedent for many other cancer patients who should take legal action against the company.
“I’m glad to be here to be able to help in a cause that’s way bigger than me,” he said, according to the AP.
While rendering the verdict, the jury said that the packaging of the product should have indicated the health risks of using it. The Environmental Protection Agency says Roundup is safe to use if label directions are followed properly. But the World Health Organization has classified the product’s active ingredient as a “probable human carcinogen.”
Monsanto did not take the verdict lightly. They pushed back, vowing to appeal the case.
“We are sympathetic to Mr. Johnson and his family,” said company spokesman Scott Partridge. “We will appeal this decision and 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.”
Do you think this is just the first of many cases to be brought against Monsanto? Do you believe Johnson’s case will have an impact on other companies as well?
We look forward to seeing your comments at the end of this article.