A months-long trial in San Francisco has ended after a jury found that Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer contributed to a school groundskeeper’s lymphoma, awarding the man $289 million in damages in this landmark decision.
Dewayne Johnson’s case was the first to go to trial because his doctors said he was near death due to his terminal cancer and California offers an expedited trial in those situations.
Johnson was awarded $39 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages for a total of $289 million. That judgement also includes $37 million for non-economic damages, determined to be one million for every year that the 46-year-old will have lost due to cancer. This decision could set a tremendous precedent for the thousands of other cases that are currently pending across the United States.
Johnson was a groundskeeper who sprayed as much as 150 gallons of the pesticide per day for about 20 to 30 days a year. Johnson continued to spray the herbicide even after being diagnosed with the disease because he did not want to lose his job, and because he was told in a pesticides certification course that the product was “safe enough to drink.” During the course of his work, he was also involved in two separate accidents which left his body drenched in the pesticide.
Monsanto has long maintained that their product poses no adverse risk to human health, while outside studies have found alarming links between glyphosate (the main active ingredient) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, labeled glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen,” and cited convincing evidence that the chemical caused cancer in laboratory animals.
While Monsanto has publicly claimed that their products are safe, lawsuits have uncovered internal company documents that suggest they were aware of the risks, attempted to cover them up, and may have even played a role in ghostwriting scientific studies designed to ensure that glyphosate was found to be safe.
While Johnson continues to battle his terminal cancer, with a disease that sometimes leaves him too crippled to speak and with a body nearly 80% covered in lesion, the judgement will serve to compensate for the onerous medical bills and ensure that he lives out the rest of his days as comfortable as possible given his current condition. Not only that, but he’ll also be able to rest assured that his family will be economically provided for when he leaves behind his two sons and a wife who had been forced to work two 40-hour per week jobs in order to support the family during this incredibly difficult time.
While this most recent judgement is a landmark decision, there are still many more families who are waiting for their day in court and their small piece of compensation for the pain and suffering they’ve already had to endure. No family should have to go through an ordeal like this, and certainly not over a product that was claimed to be totally benign and safe to use.
The law firm at Fears Nachawati is working with families who have found themselves in this terrible situation and we’ve got a history of taking on and winning difficult cases. If you or a loved one would like to know more about how these claims work, or to discuss the specifics of your situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to Fears Nachawati for an experienced Texas Roundup lawyer.
For your free, no obligation legal consultation, please call (866) 705-7584, or visit the offices of Fears Nachawati located throughout the great state of Texas, including in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.