In the first ever claims ruling about the Roundup weedkiller of the chemical giant Monsanto causes cancer, the US firm has bene ordered to $289 million in damages to a terminally ill school groundskeeper.
The ruling came in favor of Lee Johnson by a San Francisco state court where the jurors discussed the case for three days. The doctors of Johnson didn’t think he’d live long enough to hear the verdict.
The trial will act as a template for litigating thousands of other claims over the herbicide of Monsanto as the ruling passed an important test of the evidence against the factory.
While trying to assure its consumers about the safety of its weedkiller, the company immediately said it would appeal against the decision.
$412 million in damages was sought by Johnson. The ruling granted the litigant $39 million for his losses and slapped a fine of $250 million as a punishment for the company after it concluded that the company was liable for a design defect and for not issuing warnings for the risks of Roundup.
“Roundup has been safe for four decades and will continue to be safe. There is no credible scientific evidence that demonstrates otherwise,” Monsanto vice president Scott Partridge told the Press Association:
“It is completely and totally safe and the public should not be concerned about this verdict… We will work through the legal process to see if we can get the right result. The science is crystal clear.”
Monsanto would be bought by Germany’s Bayer for $66 billion.
According to Chris Perrella, an analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence, there can be pressure on Bayer’s bottom line if large verdicts are generated by the litigation verdicts against Monsanto.
He said that there’s a “huge potential liability” because Roundup is ubiquitous in modern farming. He however, also added that it is very uncertain it will materialize.
Perrella said that many analysts covering the company focus on pharmaceuticals and therefore Bayer investors might not be aware of the risks.
It was way bank in 1974 that approval for Glyphosate which is the main component in Roundup, was awarded to Monsanto.
environmentalists, regulators, researchers and lawyers have bene for long debated whether cancer is cause by the herbicide despite it being the world’s most popular and widely used herbicide. Monsanto has been however stressing that it is safe.
Johnson mixed and sprayed hundreds of gallons of Roundup while he was working for a school district in Benicia, California.
He was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, and in July 2017, after chemotherapy and other treatments, his oncologist gave him six months to live.
The exposure to the herbicide which also included some accidents that had drenched him form head to toe with the herbicide was the argument placed by Johnson’s lawyers as was testified by Johnson and expert witnesses. The experts claimed that the herbicide was the cause of Johnson’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
(Adapted from Telegraph.co.uk)