Jury Awards Terminally Ill Man $289 Million In Lawsuit Against Monsanto

Jury backs man who claims Roundup weed killer caused cancer

Jury backs man who claims Roundup weed killer caused cancer

One of the UK's largest DIY retailers is reviewing the sale of Roundup weedkiller products amid mounting concerns about their use, after a U.S. jury found the herbicide had caused a terminally ill man's cancer.

He was first diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - a cancer that starts in the white blood cells - in August 2014, having previously sprayed hundreds of gallons of Roundup.

"Today the jury confirmed what we have known since our investigation began - that Monsanto knew Roundup contained cancer-causing ingredients and failed to take this product off the shelf and protect consumers", said Micah Dortch of the Potts Law Firm, according to USA Today.

Johnson's lawyer, Brent Wisner, said the jury's verdict showed there was "overwhelming" evidence against the product. "Hopefully, this thing will get the attention it needs so folks can make a good choice".

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.

Monsanto said it would appeal the verdict.

The lawsuit was the first to go to trial among hundreds filed in California and in federal courts claiming Roundup causes cancer - a claim that the maker, Monsanto, denies.

"The jury sent a message to the Monsanto boardroom that they have to change the way they do business", said Kennedy, who championed the case publicly.

Jurors unanimously found that Monsanto - which vowed to appeal - acted with "malice" and that its weed killers Roundup and the professional grade version RangerPro contributed "substantially" to Dewayne Johnson's terminal illness.

At one point, when a hose broke, the weedkiller covered his entire body.

Johnson's lawyers sought and won 39 million dollars (£30 million) in compensatory damages and 250 million dollars (£196 million) of the 373 million dollars (£292 million) they wanted in punitive damages.

"The jury sent a message to the Monsanto boardroom that they have to change the way they do business", said Robert F. Kennedy Jr - an environmental lawyer, son of the late United States senator and a member of Johnson's legal team.

However, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) insists it is safe when used carefully. But, the World Health Organization has classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic". But that issue was sidestepped during the trial, as Johnson's lawyers argued that his cancer was caused by the combination of glyphosate and other chemicals present in Roundup.

"We are sympathetic to Mr. Johnson and his family", Partridge said.

The dispute centred on glyphosate, the world's most widely used herbicide.

Plaintiff Dewayne Johnson reacts after hearing the verdict to his case against Monsanto in San Francisco.

Mr Johnson read the label and even contacted the company after developing a rash but was never warned it could cause cancer.

"It is a landmark development in terms of the jury fixing responsibility on Monsanto and its negligence and given the discussion around glyphosate and its safety in India", said Kavitha Kuruganti, from the Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA).

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