In a landmark verdict that could usher thousands more Roundup lawsuits in court, a California jury has awarded one non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patient a total of $289 million in compensation, CNN reports.
Historic Roundup Lawsuit Trial Ends In $289M Verdict
Monsanto has been ordered to pay the enormous sum to Dewayne Johnson, a former school groundskeeper who used the company’s glyphosate-packed weedkiller for years during his employment.
After deliberating for two-and-a-half days, the Superior Court jury concluded that Johnson’s case of cancer should at least partially be attributed to his glyphosate exposure, continuing to rule that Monsanto failed to warn Johnson, and the public at large, of glyphosate’s possible link to cancer.
Monsanto “acted with malice, oppression or fraud and should be punished for its conduct,” Judge Suzanne Bolanos said in court. Now 46-years-old, Johnson is not expected to live past 2020, his doctors testified at trial.
Verdict Could Set Precedent For Thousands Of Cases
Johnson’s case is first to go to trial from a litigation that now includes over 4,000 Roundup cancer lawsuits. In their product liability lawsuits, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients from across the country accuse Monsanto concealing the medical evidence on glyphosate for decades.
Mr. Johnson’s claim was the first to test these allegations in open court, in part, because he is dying. In California, trials can be expedited for plaintiffs are likely to pass on in the near future. His wife now works two full-time jobs to support him and their two sons.
Monsanto vice president Scott Partridge has already announced his intent to appeal the verdict. As Partridge explained, Monsanto 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.”
Jury Finds Monsanto Liable For Failure To Warn
The jurors, however, took a different view of the controversial product, which has been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in multiple medical studies and labeled as a probable human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
In its verdict, the jury found that Monsanto failed to adequately warn the public of glyphosate’s dangers and agreed that, had Johnson been made fully aware of the product’s link to cancer, he may have made different choices. To the pointed question of “was Monsanto’s failure to warn a substantial factor in causing harm to Johnson?”, the jury answered “Yes.”
Johnson was awarded $39 million in compensatory damages. The bulk of the jury’s verdict, $250 million, came as punitive damages, which are intended to punish defendants for particularly egregious conduct.