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Monsanto Loses Cancer Trial with a $289 Million Verdict


A California jury decided that Monsanto should pay $289 million for not warning of the risk of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma from exposure to its weed killing products, Roundup® and Ranger Pro®. There are an additional 5,000 similar cases filed against Monsanto involving its glyphosate-based herbicides.

Roundup® is used by farmers, grounds keepers and home gardeners as a weed killing agent. Roundup® has become the most popular weed killer in the world, with global sales of approximately $4.8 billion (2015). Monsanto was purchased by Bayer in 2018.

Dewayne Johnson was the plaintiff in this closely watched trial against Monsanto. He filed suit against Monsanto in 2016. Mr. Johnson developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after years of use of Roundup® and Ranger Pro® in his job as a school groundskeeper. He believed that the weed killers were safe until his skin broke out in lesions after an accident in which he was drenched in Ranger Pro®. After developing terminal cancer, Johnson reached out to Monsanto on numerous occasions to find out if their products were carcinogenic to humans. Johnson said Monsanto never responded.

The trial featured many scientific experts on Johnson’s team who argued that there are scientific studies showing that glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup® and Ranger Pro®) can cause cancer. The jury also heard testimony that a United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official attempted to “kill” a federal study on the link between glyphosate and cancer. There were internal company emails and text messages that appeared to try to influence the EPA’s study on the carcinogenicity (cancer-causing nature) of Roundup®. Monsanto’s team offered its own witnesses arguing the safety of their weed-killers.

The unanimous jury found for Mr. Johnson and awarded $39.25 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages. The jury found that the Monsanto glyphosate-based products were unsafe and were a substantial factor in causing harm to Mr. Johnson. They also found that Monsanto failed to warn customers of the risk and that they acted with malice or oppression.

If you have reason to believe you or a family member developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after long-term exposure to RoundUp®, contact our law firm, Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC. Attorney Oppenheimer has experience in cases involving product liability against large corporations. He is anxious to consult with you to help answer your questions and determine if you have a case to pursue against Monsanto.

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