Earlier this year, a San Francisco jury returned a verdict in favor of a terminally ill man in a multi-million dollar award involving Monsanto’s controversial weed killer RoundUp. The victory for the plaintiff Dewayne Johnson, a former school groundskeeper, could set a massive precedent for thousands of other victims of the herbicide. Mr. Johnson’s case was the first to go to trial because his doctors noted that he was near death and California allows for expedited trials for dying plaintiffs. Mr. Johnson is suffering from non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The jury spent three days deliberating before returning the verdict, awarding Johnson $250 million in punitive damages and $39 million in compensatory damages.
Other RoundUp Lawsuits
According to news reports, more than 800 plaintiffs were suing Monsanto in 2017 on the allegation that RoundUp caused them cancer. Since last year hundreds of additional plaintiffs have filed similar claims. Plaintiffs include cancer patients, the spouses of cancer patients, or the estates of those who passed away from cancer. After the verdict in the Johnson case, Monsanto issued a public statement saying it stood by the studies the suggest RoundUp is not linked to cancer. Monsanto vowed to appeal the decision and fight to defend RoundUp against other claims. Monsanto further pointed out that RoundUp has a 40-year history of safe use and is an effective and essential tool for farmers and others.
Johnson, who is only 46 years of age, used RoundUp weed killer approximately 20 to 30 times each year while he worked as a groundskeeper for a school district near San Francisco, California. Johnson testified during the trial that twice during his work he had two accidents, the first in 2012, where he was soaked completely by the product. Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2014. According to the lawsuit, Johnson has lesions covering as much as 80% of his body.
The two issues in Johnson’s case that were presented to the jury were whether RoundUp can cause cancer, and if so, whether Monsanto failed to warn consumers about this risk of cancer. In 2015, the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a report that stated glyphosate, the key ingredient in RoundUp, was likely carcinogenic to humans. That being said, the IARC’s report is outnumbered by many scientific reports stating that RoundUp is safe. This includes more than 800 studies from around the world including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Agricultural Health Study, and the National Institute of Health, among others. Johnson had to prove that RoundUp was a substantial contributing factor to his cancer, according to California law.
Legal Help in Nevada
If you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury due to the fault of another, contact the knowledgeable Las Vegas attorneys at Parry & Pfau today. You do not have to suffer through this difficult time alone. We have represented the injured in Las Vegas and across the state of Nevada. Our skilled lawyers will fight for the monetary compensation you deserve.
(image courtesy of Glenn Carstens-Peters)