Monday, 20 August, 2018

California verdict on Monsanto's Roundup could have India implications

'Guilty on All Counts!': In Historic Victory, Monsanto Ordered to Pay $289 Million in Roundup Cancer Lawsuit US jury orders Monsanto to pay $289m in Roundup trial
Orlando Vargas | 11 August, 2018, 23:45

One of the UK's largest DIY retailers is reviewing the sale of Roundup weedkiller products amid mounting concerns about their use, after a USA jury found the herbicide had caused a terminally ill man's cancer.

The US jury found Roundup's manufacturer, agri-business giant Monsanto, failed to warn consumers about known health risks.

Johnson's attorney Brent Wisner said the verdict "shows the evidence is overwhelming" that the product poses danger. "I hope it gets the attention that it needs".

Dewyane Johnson, 46, claimed in the lawsuit that his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was caused by his use of Roundup weedkiller and one other Monsanto product during his work as a school groundskeeper.

Monsanto Co. says it will appeal the verdict.

The lawsuit is the first to accuse the product of causing cancer but is a harbinger of a looming wave of similar legal challenges: observers say a Monsanto defeat likely opens the door to hundreds of other claims against the company, which was recently acquired by Germany's Bayer.

"Monsanto made Roundup the oxycontin of pesticides and now the addiction and damage they caused have come home to roost", said Ken Cook, President of the Environmental Working Group, a USA environmental organization that researches toxic chemicals and advocates for corporate accountability.

But George Lombardi, an attorney for Monsanto, said non-Hodgkin's lymphoma takes years to develop, so Johnson's cancer must have started well before he began working at the school district.

"This jury found Monsanto acted with malice and oppression because they knew what they were doing was wrong and doing it with reckless disregard for human life", said Robert F Kennedy Jr, a member of Johnson's legal team.

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At one point, when a hose broke, the weedkiller covered his entire body. The jury recommended Monsanto pay Johnson over 289 million dollars in total.

"The jury sent a message to the Monsanto boardroom that they have to change the way they do business", said Robert F. Kennedy Jr - an environmental lawyer, son of the late USA senator and a member of Johnson's legal team.

Johnson said he hoped his verdict would bolster the other cases.

"Today's decision does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews - and conclusions by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US National Institutes of Health and regulatory authorities around the world - support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr Johnson's cancer", it added.

Mr Johnson used the two products while carrying out the duties of his job, his lawyers said.

They said he even once contacted Monsanto after developing a rash, and wasn't told of any risk, the AP reported.

Glyphosate is the world's most common weedkiller and the science about its safety is still far from settled. "It's just a matter of time", Wisner told the jury in his opening statement last month.

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the World Health Organisation's cancer agency, concluded that glyphosate was "probably carcinogenic to humans".

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