A jury in San Francisco awarded $289 million to a man dying of cancer in his lawsuit against Monsanto.
Dewayne Johnson, a former school groundskeeper blamed Roundup, Monsanto’s weed killer product, for his disease. Johnson is suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It is cancer that attacks the white blood cells called lymphocytes, which are part of the immune system.
Johnson was one of the thousands of people who filed lawsuits against Monsanto and claimed that their suffering was caused by Roundup. The jury’s decision will strengthen the pending cases against the company.
“I’m glad to be here to be able to help in a cause that’s way bigger than me,” Johnson said on Friday. He also expressed gratitude to the jury, his lawyers and family.
Johnson’s attorney, Brent Wisner, commented, “A unanimous jury in San Francisco has told Monsanto: ’Enough. You did something wrong and now you have to pay.’
“There’s 4,000 other cases filed around the United States, and there are countless thousand other people out there who are suffering from cancer because Monsanto didn’t give them a choice … We now have a way forward.”
Johnson’s other lawyer, Timothy Litzenburg, said the award doesn’t change the reality that his client’s two sons “might lose their dad soon.” However, the money “will help them live comfortably.” Johnson “is going to live the rest of that time in extreme comfort.”
Monsanto Plans to Appeal the Jury’s Decision
Meanwhile, Monsanto said it will appeal the decision of the jury and will continue to defend its product. The company reiterated that Roundup does not cause cancer.
The company’s spokesman, Scott Patridge said, “We are sympathetic to Mr. Johnson and his family. 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.”
In response to Monsanto’s plan, Litzenburg said an appeal will be costly for the company. He explained that Monsanto will pay interest on the damages while it is appealing the case. He estimated that the interest will be $25 million per year.